FanDuel - WFBC

December 12, 2006

Red Sox brass meeting with Matsuzaka's agent: Red Sox front office, pitcher's agent hammering out contract details.

posted by Clevelander32 to baseball at 03:47 PM - 77 comments

"In Japan, he's known as the national treasure," Boras told some three dozen media representatives" Sorry, Scott Boras. No, he's not. He's just a very good pitcher.

posted by mikemacman at 04:03 PM on December 12

Boras is doing his job, but the Red Sox are supporting actors in this farce.

posted by dusted at 04:28 PM on December 12

I think everybody recognizes the nauseous game being played out here. Unfortunately, it is a game that needs to be played in the interest of D-Mat and Scott Boras' commision. Boras uses hyperbole and the Red Sox down play. I expect them to meet in the middle.

posted by The SmoothMASTER at 04:53 PM on December 12

IT IS BECAUSE OF ALL THE AGENTS IN BASEBALL LIKE SCOTT BORAS AND THE GREED THAT HAS COME WITH THEM THAT BASEBALL IS ON THE VERGE OF BECOMING THE THIRD SPORT. TOO MUCH MONEY AND THE PRICES THAT ARE CHARGED TO SEE THE GAMES TODAY HAVE REALLY STARTED A LOT OF THE FANS TO TAKE A SECOND LOOK AT THERE SPENDING. YES, I KNOW THAT LAST YEAR WAS THE BIGGEST ATTENDANCE IN HISTORY BUT THE PRICES ARE DRIVING THE SMALL FAN FURTHER AND FURTHER AWAY FROM THE GAME. NO PLAYER IS WORTH 25MILLION A YEAR. I HAVE BEEN A BASEBALL FAN SINCE I REMEMBER IN THE LATE 40S LISTENING TO THE WORLD SERIES ON THE RADIO, MOSTLY THE DODGERS AND YANKEES, BUT IT WAS SOMETHING I LOOKED FORWARD TOO WHEN SCHOOL STARTED BECAUSE I KNEW IT WAS TIME FOR THE BASEBALL WORLD SERIES. AND WHEN THE DODGERS MOVED TO LA IN THE LATE 50S I WAS LUCKY ENOUGH TO HAVE A GRANDFATHER THAT ALSO LOVED BASEBALL AND WE WENT TO ALL THE GAMES WE COULD. MY FATHER HAD SEASON TICKETS TO THE LA ANGELS FROM 1960 UNTIL HE DIED IN 1980 AND I KEPT THEM UNTIL DISNEY DOUBLEDD THE PRICES IN ONE YEAR SO AFTER ALMOST 30 YEARS I STOPPED GOING AND BUYING SEASON TICKETS BECAUSE OF THE PRICE NOT ONLY OF THE TICKETS BUT EVERYTHING ELSE AS WELL. PARKING, FOOD ETC..... HAVE GOTTEN SO FAR OUT OF HAND IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO CONTINUE TO ENJOY ONESELVES WHEN YOU HAVE TO PAY OVER 100 DOLLARS PER HEAD FOR A FAMILY OF FOUR. IT JUST ISN'T BASEBALL THAT PRICES HAVE GOTTEN OUT OF HAND. THANK HEAVEN FOR TELEVISION BECAUSE YOU CAN WATCH AND ENJOY WITHOUT HAVING TO SELL YOUR FIRST BORN TO PAY FOR ATTENDING A SPORTS EVENT.

posted by ucla512 at 05:05 PM on December 12

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posted by jerseygirl at 05:15 PM on December 12

Am I the only person here who thinks that the Red Sox never really intended to sign Matsuzaka in the first place, and simply put up the enormous bid that they did to keep him away from the Yankees? They lose nothing if they don't sign him (except maybe some face, but they can easily transfer blame to Boras on that), and no one else can have him for another year. That being said, Boras has to know he has no leverage here, and if Matsuzaka wants to play in the bigs this year, he's going to have to take whatever the Red Sox offer. The numbers I've heard seem reasonable for a guy who hasn't pitched in the majors yet.

posted by TheQatarian at 05:39 PM on December 12

Am I the only person here who thinks that the Red Sox never really intended to sign Matsuzaka in the first place, and simply put up the enormous bid that they did to keep him away from the Yankees? I really don't think that was their intention. I think they wanted to make sure the Yankees didn't get him, but they also want to sign him so they have him. A big negative for the Sox should they not sign him is the black eye they get with other Japanese talent they are hoping to attract. While I think the money the guy (Boras, at this point) is asking is, or very likely could be, a huge mistake, the Sox need to see this through. If they don't sign him, many, including those in Japan, will feel the Red Sox are all talk, no action and that the $51 million they put up initially WAS just a smoke screen to fend off other teams. They can't take that chance. The Red Sox also need to upgrade their pitching, with Schilling getting older, and Beckett still a question mark as a AL pitcher and injury-wise. Last year I thought making Papelbon a starter would be an obvious move, but looking at their bullpen, I'm now not so sure. If they don't shore up their middle relief, and also take a dominant closer out of the mix, it could be a disaster. They need to sign Matsuzaka.

posted by dyams at 05:54 PM on December 12

Does anyone know what Matsuzaka would make if he returned to Japan to pitch another year before trying to get a major league contract next year?

posted by graymatters at 06:02 PM on December 12

Does anyone know what Matsuzaka would make if he returned to Japan to pitch another year... I heard the number $3 million somewhere. If the Red Sox offer an average of $10 to $12 million per year, he would have to get a pretty outrageous contract next year (or even more outrageous in 2 years, when he actually becomes a free agent) in order to quickly make up the difference between $10 to $12 million and whatever he could get later. Matsuzaka is 26. It makes sense to sign him to at least a 6-year contract at something approaching $12 million. That would tie him up until the age of 32 or 33, at which point his natural skills would be deteriorating somewhat, and he would have to learn how to pitch. From all I have heard, he understands the importance of control and pitching strategies better than most, so perhaps it would make sense to tie him up for as long as 8 or 10 years. What I remember of the Japanese culture from my time there would lead me to believe that Scott Boras would wind up being persona non grata if Matsuzaka fails to sign for a large but reasonable sum. The Japanese rarely change employers, businesses are paternalistic, and for Matsuzaka to cost Seibu $51.1 million would be seen as him being somewhat disloyal. The spin that Red Sox management would put on it is that Boras was too greedy, and thus kept Matsuzaka from signing. I think Boras is not in a good position here.

posted by Howard_T at 06:23 PM on December 12

"D-Mat"? I think I just threw up in my mouth.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 06:50 PM on December 12

"D-Mat"? I think I just threw up in my mouth. I second that reaction. Can I also make a motion we never, EVER come up with any stupid nicknames for this guy, at least until he wins 15 games during a U.S. Major League season?

posted by dyams at 07:00 PM on December 12

Am I the only person here who thinks that the Red Sox never really intended to sign Matsuzaka in the first place, and simply put up the enormous bid that they did to keep him away from the Yankees? They want to sign him. Just to play a game of keep-away would screw up the Red Sox image in the Asian market. They want Matsuzaka but they also want to make a name for themselves (as the Yankees and Mariners have) in the Asian market. Its all investment. It's all growing the brand. The Red Sox own majority share in their own TV network, which broadcasts 99% of their games. Broadening the NESN network overseas, attracting Asian viewing audience as well as advertisers (both on the network and in the park) would be huge.

posted by jerseygirl at 07:02 PM on December 12

For the record, Jerseygirl is my hero. Thanks for doing the stuff all of us are thinking but don't take the time to do.

posted by hawkguy at 07:06 PM on December 12

SOX RULE!!!!! I HATE YOUR TEAM!!!! Just kidding Jerseygirl. Seriously though, I think the Sox are just trying to add depth to a staff that needs it. Also since all of these teams basically play with monopoly money there is no downside, but the upside on Matsuzaka is tremendous. 26 is a good age to lock up a dominant pitcher to a long term contract. The risk is if he turns out to be dominant, or are you willing to pay 12 million per year if he turns out to be a #3 or #4 starter.

posted by kyrilmitch_76 at 08:59 PM on December 12

Red Sox front office, pitcher's agent hammering out contract details. Where do you see any evidence of that?

posted by yerfatma at 06:13 AM on December 13

Let's not forget that Barry Zito has the same agent and convieniently hasn't signed with anyone yet. If the Boston deal for the Japanese pitcher doesn't materialize, they keep their $51 million bid money and move right into the driver's seat for Barry Zito. Scott Boras has the Red Sox coming or going & obviously Mr. Zito doesn't mind waiting out the deadline.

posted by jaygolf at 08:27 AM on December 13

I don't know if Boston goes after Zito. It's not a must. As is, Boston currently has a rotation of Schilling, Beckett, Papelbon, Wakefield and Jon Lester has finished his chemo, cleared of cancer and plans on being there when pitchers and catchers report.

posted by jerseygirl at 08:46 AM on December 13

I really don't think the Red Sox have any interest in Zito. Some reports, particularly one out of Houston this morning, have the Red Sox still hot after Clemens. Think they're pondering sending Wakefield back to the bullpen? It wasn't so long ago that he was a reliever and spot starter.

posted by Venicemenace at 09:19 AM on December 13

Someone is going to overpay for Zito and they better be in the NL. Otherwise, there's some serious Buyer's Remorse in a year or two.

posted by yerfatma at 09:21 AM on December 13

Does anyone know what Matsuzaka would make if he returned to Japan to pitch another year graymatters, I don't know how reliable, but I had heard that his salary for '07 is to be in the $2 million range in Japan. I also heard that the Red Sox have a tentative deal for $25 million / year for television rights on Japanese cable. If it's true and they sign him for 3 - 5 years, the original negotiation fee is more than paid for as well as a good part of a hefty salary in Boston.

posted by jaygolf at 09:25 AM on December 13

I have no idea about Wakefield, Venice. He's sort of a wildcard -- he's had worse years in the past, turned around the next season and had great numbers. Right now he's the #5 starter I'd guess. He really hasn't regularly worked out of the pen in about 4 years, maybe 5? Does anyone know what Matsuzaka would make if he returned to Japan to pitch another year He'd be going back to Japan for two more seasons, actually.

posted by jerseygirl at 09:26 AM on December 13

Matsuzaka also makes huge sums in endorsements that dwarf his baseball salary, so I don't think he would be hurting for money if he returned to Japan. From all I have read and heard about the potential for the Red Sox to "recoup" the posting fee, most of the obvious revenue gains (television, merchandising) are split up between all MLB teams. Stadium signage and ads on local TV are the Red Sox' to keep. There's also a tangible brand/image benefit to having tons of Japanese fans wearing your gear, even if you have to split the profits with other clubs. But expecting anything in the neighborhood of $25 million is unrealistic. He'd be going back to Japan for two more seasons, actually. So the reports of another posting next winter are inaccurate?

posted by Venicemenace at 09:32 AM on December 13

He'd be going back to Japan for two more seasons, actually. Though he would be eligible for this type of bidding process again after next season. Oops, Venicemenace beat me to it.

posted by opel70 at 09:37 AM on December 13

He's contracted with the Seibu Lions through 2007 and there's an option for 2008. That's where the posting fee comes in -- you're buying him out of his contract early.

posted by jerseygirl at 09:38 AM on December 13

Matsuzaka also makes huge sums in endorsements that dwarf his baseball salary, so I don't think he would be hurting for money if he returned to Japan. Right, but he'll make endorsement money here too. Call the endorsements a wash (though my bias says as the lone Japanese sports star in New England he'd make more money here) and say the Sox offer him $10 million per. It will take a while for him to recoup two lost years of $8 million.

posted by yerfatma at 11:31 AM on December 13

The latest has Boston offering 6 years, $8 million/per, while Boras is looking for 6 years, $11 million/per. If Boras isn't willing to meet them somewhere in between, he's a jackass and he can't honestly say he's representing the best interest of his client. Why should Matsuzaka worry about all the players who come after him (from Asia)? Hopefully all these individuals realize they can make huge, GIGANTIC money over here and that holding out for that extra million here or there may end up costing them as individuals.

posted by dyams at 11:35 AM on December 13

Boston.com is reporting that the Red Sox brass have gotten Matsuzaka onto John Henry's private jet and they are on their way back to Boston to do a physical exam. Gordon Edes quotes a source: "You can assume a deal is done or close." [link]

posted by Venicemenace at 11:49 AM on December 13

Whatever happened to proving yourself? It took the NBA a while to figure out that drafting High School players was a very risky decision because the game in the NBA is totally different from High School. This situation is similar. Why would you pay so much money for a guy who has never pitched a major or even minor league game? Matsuzaka better be the next Roger Clemmons or whoever pays for him is getting ripped the fuck off. Am I the only person who is confused by this entire situation? Did I miss something? Why? Why? Why?

posted by yay-yo at 11:53 AM on December 13

Matsuzaka better be the next Roger Clemmons Clemens makes over $20 million a season. Matsuzaka is likely to make half that. So I don't agree with your assertion. Gil Meche just signed a deal for $11 million a year. Few major league scouts who have watched Matsuzaka would argue that Gil Meche (55-44 career 4.65 ERA, 1.43 WHIP) is a superior pitcher. Besides, although there are risks inherent in drafting high school basketball players, I don't think that the Cavs are looking to cut LeBron James, or the Magic Dwight Howard. Greg Oden would have gone very high in the last draft if teams weren't barred from picking him. Contrary to the implication of your comment, NBA franchises haven't abandoned the practice of obtaining players without pro experience and paying them to scale. Just because a move carries inherent risk doesn't mean you shouldn't make the move.

posted by Venicemenace at 12:11 PM on December 13

Whatever happened to proving yourself? Teams are willing to pay out-the-ass for a shot at a guy who has a chance to be a dominating starter. That's how it is in a game where most starters are very average. I guess they feel it's better they take their shot at a guy who's still a bit unproven than to let another team take the gamble and have it pay off big-time. And yes, that's exactly what the thinking was in the NBA with high school players. Teams figured if they didn't act on the potential they saw, they'd be passing on the next great thing.

posted by dyams at 12:16 PM on December 13

Hajimashite, Matsuzaka-san.

posted by yerfatma at 12:28 PM on December 13

According to AP, Mastsuzaka took off in John Henry's jet this morning headed to Boston. Signs they have reached an agreement? Sounds like it.

posted by MPeter at 12:38 PM on December 13

Is there an echo in here?

posted by Venicemenace at 12:42 PM on December 13

Teams figured if they didn't act on the potential they saw, they'd be passing on the next great thing. Also, the problem with the Matsuzaka/high school basketball players analogy is that the latter are kids who have competed in a field of the finest kid-athletes in their respective counties, where the former is a more mature player (one would expect) who has excelled among the finest fully-developed athletes of an entire country. Matsuzaka is a much, much lower risk than a high school kid. Scott Boras seems to enter into this game of chicken with every one of his clients. It's tiring, and the fact that it works for him is annoying. As a Yankee fan, I have a lot of reasons to hope the Red Sox aren't able to secure Matsuzaka, but definitely number one is seeing the embarrassment in Boras' face as he ships his stunned client back to Japan. I really dislike Boras. Those issues aside, though, in truth I really hope the Sox are able to sign him. I am eager to see how Matsuzaka does over here -- I think he will be very exciting to watch.

posted by BullpenPro at 12:53 PM on December 13

Good news Venice. This is just in, Matsuzaka is on John Henry's plane. Sounds like an agreement has been reached, according to the AP!

posted by jerseygirl at 01:02 PM on December 13

Hajimashite It's "hajimemashite". FYI. dozo,

posted by lil_brown_bat at 01:06 PM on December 13

Well that's just shite. It's phonetic either way. I doubt a native would be impressed with me, irregardless of spelling.

posted by yerfatma at 01:14 PM on December 13

Those issues aside, though, in truth I really hope the Sox are able to sign him. I am eager to see how Matsuzaka does over here -- I think he will be very exciting to watch. I feel the same way. It's just one more reason to look forward to the upcoming baseball season and, as always, another year of Yanks/Sox. And while I will never disagree with the idea Boras is not really likeable, he does often get the outrageous sums (or close to it) he demands. It's a high-stakes game between bigshots most of us will never get to experience.

posted by dyams at 01:39 PM on December 13

Clemens makes over $20 million a season. Matsuzaka is likely to make half that. So I don't agree with your assertion. Gil Meche just signed a deal for $11 million a year. Few major league scouts who have watched Matsuzaka would argue that Gil Meche (55-44 career 4.65 ERA, 1.43 WHIP) is a superior pitcher. Your stats are actually right, however when put into proper context (ie. adding in the 50+ million paid for the rights to negotiate) the cost to the Red Sox is actually in the $20 million a season range. I guess with the Cable deals from Japan they will actually be making money though. So as long as he isn't a total piece of shit and gets sent to the minors 1/2 way through the season, the Sox should actually benefit from this foolishness.

posted by yay-yo at 02:04 PM on December 13

however when put into proper context (ie. adding in the 50+ million paid for the rights to negotiate) the cost to the Red Sox is actually in the $20 million a season range. MLB isn't counting that $51 million against the salary cap. Why should we?

posted by yerfatma at 02:09 PM on December 13

Now this is hilarious. I just picked this up from another board. Visit www.flightaware.com and enter in tail number N611JW. You can track the progress of Air Matsuzaka on its way to Boston!

posted by Venicemenace at 02:16 PM on December 13

That's awesome. Why did they stop at an Arby's in Kansas?

posted by jerseygirl at 02:22 PM on December 13

MLB isn't counting that $51 million against the salary cap. Why should we? Because the Red Sox have to be operating on some kind of budget. The limits they set on their operating costs cannot be infinite. The $51 million undoubtedly comes out of that budget, whether it is subject to the luxury tax or not. I would guess, too, that the post will actually cost them more than $51 mil when all is said and done, assuming it is drawn from a loan and not from the petty cash drawer.* *Completely talking out of my usually-less-verbal-end. I really have no insight whatsoever into the finances of major league clubs or how they operate at a fiscal level. The Red Sox could have a no-fee billion dollar checking account at Shawmut for all I know, complete with a very nice Corningware casserole dish.

posted by BullpenPro at 02:35 PM on December 13

Shawmut? Naah, the account's at BayBank.

posted by Venicemenace at 02:40 PM on December 13

You can track the progress of Air Matsuzaka on its way to Boston! I wonder if they are using the same wind Julio Lugo is using. I tried typing "AI" into the Flight Tracker, and got nothing. Just FYI.

posted by BullpenPro at 03:02 PM on December 13

I put Santa. The web application openly mocked me and called me a mamby-pamby.

posted by jerseygirl at 03:05 PM on December 13

MLB isn't counting that $51 million against the salary cap. Why should we? Let's not get into the whole "sunk costs" debate again. It doesn't count against the salary cap, but it does count against their initial salary costs for their own team books. If he signs: cost = $51million + (average annual salary * contract length) If he doesn't sign: cost = $0 The Boston organization can allocate that $51million amount however they want (lump sum single-season "cost" or spread it across the length of the contract, or even consider it a future investment for "Japanese talent acquisition" and allocate it across 25 years of player development costs), but the amount does exist. It's not a sunk cost UNTIL the contract is signed, and it should be figured in their own calculations on what kind of deal to offer him. A 7-year, $120million deal with Matsuzaka is not the same thing as a 7-year, $120million deal with Barry Zito, mainly because you must factor in the posting price (so it would be a $7-year, $171million deal instead).

posted by grum@work at 04:11 PM on December 13

A 7-year, $120million deal with Matsuzaka is not the same thing as a 7-year, $120million deal with Barry Zito, mainly because you must factor in the posting price (so it would be a $7-year, $171million deal instead). Right, but the difference is Zito is costing a club (more or less) $17+ a year in that scenario, but Matsuzaka's contract is costing $68+ mil in the first year and $17+ mil after that, not $24+ mil a year. Yerfatma, it appears that you do not want to account for that $51 million in the team's salary budget. I'm guessing the Red Sox do not have a player development budget that exceeds $51 mil a year. What do you suppose is the opportunity cost of the Matsuzaka signing? My econ/finance skills are weak at best, but that $51 mil has to come from somewhere. (Just to make things more confusing, I'll guess, "Ticket prices.")

posted by BullpenPro at 04:48 PM on December 13

The doomsday scenario: Boston signs Matsuzaka for, let's say, $11 million per year for 6 years. That gives them a total obligation of $117.1 million. Matsuzaka-san is signed up to do many endorsements of New England products, among them Dunkin Donuts. Matsuzaka falls in love with maple frosted doughnuts, and gains 45 pounds before the all star break. Consequently, his control and velocity suffer, he has no stamina, and he deliberately gets himself pulled early in games so that he can get to the dozen or two he has stashed in the clubhouse. Red Sox fans threaten open revolt in the streets of the Back Bay. John Henry doesn't care; he secretly bought a controlling interest in the parent company of Dunkin Donuts, and he has made over $200 million in stock options. Could it happen???? Hmmmmm..... Boston-e yokoso, Matsuzaka Daisuke-san

posted by Howard_T at 05:03 PM on December 13

Matsuzaka's contract is costing $68+ mil in the first year and $17+ mil after that, not $24+ mil a year. Now that's a good point, the front-loading of the posting fee makes this signing much more expensive than spending the same amount on a traditional contract. Let's not get into the whole "sunk costs" debate again . . . it should be figured in their own calculations on what kind of deal to offer him All I was saying (this time) is that only his direct salary costs against the Sox cap, so it's a little disingenuous to hold him to the standard of a $15-20 million/year pitcher*. However, I guess I'm operating under a different assumption than you and BP, and it's one that colors all my opinions on these topics. That assumption, simply stated, is "A successful major league team generates a boatload of cash, so much so you couldn't spend it all if you tried." My econ/finance skills are weak at best, but that $51 mil has to come from somewhere. (Just to make things more confusing, I'll guess, "Ticket prices.") I'm going to hope you're just tweaking grum and I about the ticket prices. Having said that, I always look at these kinds of things from the perspective of CAPM (dead boring econ warning); if you have a potential investment you think will generate $x per year and you can finance it from a bank at a figure less than $x per year, go borrow the money. * Or perhaps my argument is disingenuous, given the Sox "only" have to pay the salary they agree on today because they have a monopsony on DM due to an inefficiency in the player signing system (the current Posting System). Put DM in free agency and he probably does get $15 million per. Hell, maybe $20.

posted by yerfatma at 05:06 PM on December 13

There is no CAP as you guys keep saying. There is the amount of money that the RedSox are willing to pay and that can be as much as they are willing to pay until the MLB gets a set spending limit. And I would have gone after someone like Barry Zito before I would go after this guy. I mean 51mill just to talk about a contract. Please.

posted by kidrayter2005 at 05:44 PM on December 13

There is a luxury tax on every dollar above a certain amount, which can mean each dollar paid costs more than a dollar, though not necessarily in 2006 for first-time offenders, if this ancient link is to be believed. I mean 51mill just to talk about a contract. Please. Way to raise the level of discourse. Care to elaborate?

posted by yerfatma at 07:23 PM on December 13

the Sox "only" have to pay the salary they agree on today because they have a monopsony on DM due to an inefficiency in the player signing system (the current Posting System). Put DM in free agency and he probably does get $15 million per. Hell, maybe $20. Excellent point lost in the small tag. Being the only bidder guarantees the Sox get a lower price. DM and Boras can not shop buyers around to raise the stakes. Their only negotiating ploy is to refuse the offer outright. Question: the 51mil goes to the Sebu Lions, not to DM, right? I really dislike Boras. Don't we all? Probably because he's the best at what he does.

posted by qbert72 at 11:22 AM on December 14

Question: the 51mil goes to the Sebu Lions, not to DM, right? According to Bobby Valentine on Sportscenter last night*, the money technically goes to the Sebu Corporation and the Lions will most likely not see a dime of it. Did anyone else catch that? No one pre-flighted the interview, because Bobby sounded like he was being interviewed about the Kennedy Assassination's affect on the country. He could not have been less enthusiastic about the deal. I had paused the DVR and I kept fast-forwarding through it, shouting to my wife in amazement, "They haven't stopped him yet!" Brian Kenny's Pulitzer Prize in Journalism will have to wait another week.

posted by yerfatma at 12:00 PM on December 14

"A successful major league team generates a boatload of cash, so much so you couldn't spend it all if you tried." You may very well be right. When clubs announce that they can't "afford" a player (like the Red Sox muttered when Abreu was on the block last summer), I have a tendency to believe them but that certainly doesn't mean that it's true. (It may also be that the Red Sox claimed poverty over Abreu because they already knew what they were going to be spending this winter...?) Excellent point lost in the small tag. That is very true. And, yerfatma, I follow your CAPM reasoning (thanks for the link). I would argue, though, that you have a fixed roster, so you can't chase every investment that you think is going to provide a return on the money borrowed, you have to pick the 25 best performing investments you can afford. And even those are limited by position. Every Matsuzaka costs you a Zito, not only from a salary standpoint, but because you don't want 12 starting pitchers on your team.

posted by BullpenPro at 12:21 PM on December 14

I would argue, though, that you have a fixed roster, so you can't chase every investment that you think is going to provide a return on the money borrowed, you have to pick the 25 best performing investments you can afford. That is a good point and I think it probably hews closely to what the Red Sox meant when they said they couldn't "afford" Abreu: whatever margin of upgrade he was over Adam Stern or Gabe Kapler, it was a very thin one when you consider the increase in cost. Even more so when you consider he would have replaced the production of Trot Nixon/ Wily Mo Pena in the field but bumped a negligible salary back to the minors.

posted by yerfatma at 01:33 PM on December 14

So this means Schilling, Beckett, Matsuzaka, Papelbon and Lester (and/or maybe Wakefield) in the starting rotation. What does the bullpen look like, and who's going to be their closer? Timlin? Is Keith Foulke still in the picture? I really do believe Papelbon will be better suited for the starter role, seeing as how the unpredictable schedule last year took it's toll on his arm. All in all a good staff, provided Schilling has something left in the tank, Beckett doesn't turn into a .500 pitcher in the AL, Matsuzaka approaches what they expect he'll be, and Lester can be healthy and pick up where he left off in his development. Then all they need is everyone to stay healthy, of course. But what about the pen?

posted by dyams at 02:00 PM on December 14

What you mentioned for doubts for the Sox staff are the same doubts every other team has for their starting rotation. Closer has yet to be determined/acquired. Right now for the bullpen you have Timlin, Hansen, Delcarmen, Julian Tavarez, Hideki Okajima. There's also the assortment of starters they were forced to use last year when the 25 man team imploded and everyone got broken. Keith Foulke did not exercise his player option for 07, and did not accept arbitration from the Red Sox, so he's gone and there was much rejoicing for both sides, I imagine.

posted by jerseygirl at 02:22 PM on December 14

Currently, the pen consists of all those starters going 8 innings. There's basically no one in the pen right now (my opinion is that Timlin is cooked). Someone called 'EEI last night to suggest a 6 man rotation with each guy going 120 pitches. I think Foulke is out of the picture; I also think they were relying on signing Gagne. Here's hoping Craig Hanson and Manny Delcarmen make The Leap.

posted by yerfatma at 02:22 PM on December 14

I really do believe Papelbon will be better suited for the starter role, seeing as how the unpredictable schedule last year took it's toll on his arm. The one question I have is will Papelbon be able to pitch consistantly over an entire major league season. After only pitching 68.1 innings last year, I doubt the Red Sox will be able to use him as an every five day starter.

posted by Ying Yang Mafia at 02:45 PM on December 14

He was a starter up until last year. Why would last year ruin him as a starter?

posted by yerfatma at 05:25 PM on December 14

After only pitching 68.1 innings last year, I doubt the Red Sox will be able to use him as an every five day starter. For all those 68 innings, though, with most being only an inning or so per appearance, he (Papelbon) had to warm up completely in the bullpen, which had to take quite a toll on his arm. It's not a role that's made for everyone. I think since he's had more experience in his past as a starter, he'll be able to settle into the more-predictable role.

posted by dyams at 06:56 PM on December 14

Looks like it's official and the early reviews are positive.

posted by BullpenPro at 09:00 PM on December 14

"The Red Sox just signed a 26-year-old ace pitcher who's probably the equal of anyone in baseball outside of Johan Santana and Roy Halladay. No, Matsuzaka has never pitched in the major leagues, but he's hardly an unknown quantity. A conservative estimate of how good he is classes him with pitchers like Chris Carpenter and Carlos Zambrano. He's more likely to perform badly than these established veterans but also more likely to put up numbers out of Pedro Martinez's prime." From your lips to God's Ears, sir, but I don't see how he "projects" to be a top 10 starter, but then the second link says it too. No pressure.

posted by yerfatma at 05:35 AM on December 15

On the plus side, seems like the Sox will be able to afford Matsuzaka.

posted by yerfatma at 06:31 AM on December 15

On the plus side, seems like the Sox will be able to afford Matsuzaka. I'm also betting on $8 hot dogs.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 09:47 AM on December 15

he'll be able to settle into the more-predictable role Let's not make it out like this is the first time a pitcher has moved into the starting rotation. When they do it mid-season it only takes 3 weeks to stretch a pitcher out. Papelbon has an entire offseason and all of spring training. Non issue. Papelbon was also on record as saying this is a strategic baseball move, not of a precautionary medical nature at all. Do I believe that? Not really, but it doesn't mean it's not grounded in sound strategy. The closer issue is strange because for some reason Hansen is not the guy. He was drafted with a dominant track record in the NCAA. He comes up to the bigs 6 months after being drafted and he's worse now. Have the Sox messed with this kid (trying to make him pitch their way) that he's lost a pitch (the slider) and shows no real dominant stuff? Strange. Cla Meredith blames the Sox organization for his struggles and subsequent rebirth in San Diego. I wish I could find the article where he throws that out there, but no luck.

posted by YukonGold at 10:53 AM on December 15

I wish I could find a way to swap Doug Mirabelli back to San Diego and get Cla(y) in return. Likely? Maybe I'll call WEEI and float that idea.

posted by yerfatma at 11:02 AM on December 15

He's more likely to perform badly than these established veterans but also more likely to put up numbers out of Pedro Martinez's prime. Okay, that's just crazy. Pedro Martinez's prime would be 1999-2000 seasons. 1999: 23-4 record, 213.3IP, 313K, 2.07ERA, 245ERA+, 0.923 WHIP 2000: 18-6 record, 217.0IP, 284K, 1.74ERA, 285ERA+, 0.737 WHIP If anyone is expecting DiceK to put up numbers like that, then I've got a bridge, some swamp land and a perpetual motion machine to sell them.

posted by grum@work at 02:51 PM on December 15

DiceK? Man, we're going batshit with the nicknames. Everytime I hear about Pedro, I cry. </fan team="Expos">

posted by qbert72 at 04:42 PM on December 15

he'll be able to settle into the more-predictable role Let's not make it out like this is the first time a pitcher has moved into the starting rotation. I meant he'd settle into the starter's role for the entire season. I'm sure Papelbon could have moved into a rotation during an actual season, but he didn't and I just think he was always meant to be a full-time starter. My feeling is Papelbon, over the course of last season, found the closer's role to be a much more demanding, tiring grind than he probably expected. I think pitching every four or five days will be much more down his alley, for the long haul, even though he was a extremely solid closer for the majority of last year. Some people seem to think a closer's job should be easy for any pitcher to adapt to, but that's a very simplistic view.

posted by dyams at 08:31 PM on December 15

DiceK? Man, we're going batshit with the nicknames. Actually, that's just the easy way to pronounce his first name: Daisuke is pronounced "dice-kay".

posted by grum@work at 08:32 PM on December 15

Right. For some reason I don't understand, that "u" doesn't show up in either syllable.

posted by yerfatma at 08:47 PM on December 15

Right. For some reason I don't understand, that "u" doesn't show up in either syllable Actually, in spoken Japanese, the "u", as in Daisuke, is pronounced, but only very slightly. The result sounds very much like dice-k, but not quite. The best way to try to understand it is to try to say DAI-soo-kay, but when you get to the 'oo' sound, you kind of close it off with the back of your tongue against the roof of your mouth. Once you develop your ear for spoken Japanese, it is not too difficult to pronounce, but there are dozens of little traps. Also, there are no stress accents on syllables, as there are in English. Rather, the accents are of pitch, with a syllable being pronounced with a rising, falling, or flat inflection. In the case of Daisuke, the first syllable has a falling inflection, and the last 2 are pronounced with a flat inflection. When I studied the language, the first 2 or 3 lessons were on pronunciation only. After my final exam in Japanese 2, I had to make a tape of me carrying on a conversation with the sensei (teacher). The faculty in Tokyo had to listen to the tape, and if my pronunciation were not correct, I would not have passed the course. I listened to a part of the press conference from Fenway last night (Thursday). Matsuzaka-san's interpreter was struggling to translate Japanese to English. He did OK going the other way, which is usually the norm for one translating from a foreign language into his native tongue. The funniest thing that happened was when some female reporter, obviously Japanese - her Japanese was too good to be from a foreigner - asked a question in Japanese. She then proceeded to apologize to everyone and translated the question into perfect, unaccented English. Why Theo Epstein didn't hire her as an interpreter on the spot, I will never understand.

posted by Howard_T at 11:05 PM on December 15

Now the Red Sox have added both Brendan Donnelly and JC Romero, so that has to improve the outlook of their bullpen. All these new faces brought each year to Boston, wow. Guess the big item on their wish-list now is a closer, then their Christmas shopping is complete.

posted by dyams at 08:07 AM on December 16

Word!@

posted by yerfatma at 06:37 PM on December 16

jerseygirl, thank you for reminding me. I didn't even know that the caps were locked on . I was watching a tape of the UCLA & Texas A&M when I was typing the comments. Thanks again UCLA512

posted by ucla512 at 12:35 AM on December 19

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