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Wednesday, November 15, 2006

ESPN: Red Sox’s winning bid for Matsuzaka—$51.1 million

Wow.

NAPLES, Fla.—The Boston Red Sox emerged Tuesday night as winners of the bidding for Daisuke Matsuzaka with a $51.1 million offer and have 30 days to sign the Japanese pitcher to a contract.

The Seibu Lions of Japan’s Pacific League announced they had accepted the high bid—ESPN’s Peter Gammons this week reported the figure to be $42 million—for their prized pitcher, and the major league commissioner’s office simultaneously confirmed at the general managers’ meetings that the Red Sox had made the offer.

Kyle S Posted: November 15, 2006 at 02:43 AM | 363 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: japan, red sox

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   101. pkb33 Posted: November 15, 2006 at 06:27 AM (#2238293)
Where are you getting the 200 miles from...I've never seen that defined as part of local revenue, I thought merchandise sales was all shared revenue. Is that a recent change or something?
   102. The Piehole of David Wells Posted: November 15, 2006 at 06:30 AM (#2238295)
i don't see why people think this is so complicated. boras may be greedy, but he's not an idiot. he can't set the price of his clients so high that they can't get work. he seems to have a good idea of what the market will support, and you have to believe that's governed a lot by what the teams (i.e., the market) tells him they are willing to pay.

the sox can't lose here, except if matsuzaka sucks. if he doesn't sign, they're not out of any money, and they can take the $50M they would have spent this year and put it toward a contract offer for him next year.

i also think that the sox will find a way to write off the posting fee, and so they'll come out ahead. they wouldn't bet this much money if they didn't think it was going to make them money. unlike a lot of people around here, i still trust this front office to get things done.
   103. Sean McNally Posted: November 15, 2006 at 06:30 AM (#2238296)
Here's a question that's been rattling 'round in my head...

IF this is purely a defensive bid - just to keep him outta New York. I understand the process dictates the second place bidder gets the rights, but what does this do the posting process in general?

Will teams be less willing to post their stars for fear of getting bids in bad faith?
   104. JC in DC Posted: November 15, 2006 at 06:31 AM (#2238298)
wtf?
   105. Jeff K. Posted: November 15, 2006 at 06:31 AM (#2238299)
I posted this in the sox therapy thread, but i'm sure this will become the new big Matsuzaka thread, so i'll ask again:

Do the Sox have to pay Seibu the 51 mil as soon as they sign him? If so, then that's a lot different than just averaging it out over the life of the contract because of inflation and the inability to invest that money. Maybe someone with an economics background could help me out here. what's the difference between, say, a 5-year deal that is 20 million per year and one that is 60 million in the first year and 10 million for each year after that?


Well, you really want someone with a Finance background, so:

It depends on what the discount rate is. Let's assume 7%, just because that's what I always use for off-the-cuff calculations.

PV of a 5 year, 20 million dollar annuity (meaning that if we start from Cash Flow Zero [today] and pay $20 million at the end of a year from today, a year from that, etc.) is $82 million.

PV of a CF zero of $0, CF 1 of $60 million, and CF 2-5 of $10 million apiece is $87.73 million.
   106. b Posted: November 15, 2006 at 06:32 AM (#2238300)
There's plenty of revenue sources which are created here. I don't think they'll pay the entire $50 mil over the next four years (or whatever the contract ends up being) but it'll pay a decent chunk of it, I'd guess.

I'm not sure. When Matsui was originally signed and was making $7M a year, the consensus was that he was making his contract back and then some...so maybe $10M a year. A large chunk of this, though, came in the signage and in ticket sales and a smaller percentage in the marketing deals (I'm not sure where the SoSH guy got his numbers, but I think it's way off based on what I remember). The Red Sox are shut out of the latter because of the park and because DM is a pitcher and not an everyday player (even if the Sox had tickets to sell, you can't sell tickedt packages to Japanese tourists 6 months in advance for a guy who only plays 20% of the time). That also has to effect the signage as well. When the Dodgers had Nomo and the Yankees had Irabu, it's not like all the games were broadcast in Japan, just the starts for the player in question. Ichiro and Matsui ad sales are based on the Japanese fan watching 160 games a year. DM ad sales are going to be based on the Japanese fan watching 35 games a year. The lumber compnay might actually pay more.

There's something there, but given 3 years to make up the cost of $42M today, I can't see how they even get remotely close. Maybe it would matter less if you could sign DM to a cheap deal, but I don't see that happening either.
   107. Jeff K. Posted: November 15, 2006 at 06:33 AM (#2238301)
Note: The more the discount rate goes up, the more the front-weighted contract is going to be valued over the evenly-placed contract.
   108. akrasian Posted: November 15, 2006 at 06:37 AM (#2238303)
I agree. To put it another way, if a team is prepared to pay a total of 4/100 consisting of a $51 million posting fee and a 4/49 player contract, why would they not be prepared to pay the player 4/100 directly (or its equivalent once the luxury tax effects are taken into account).

Well, it will be a year and a half later - with Matsuzaka correspondingly older.

This is also a weak free agent market - there will be other quality places to spend the money later on. And teams will have spent much of their available money before he becomes eligible.

Add in that he becomes eligible for free agency during the season, and teams may not have the money set aside to sign him at such a high salary level.

He would likely get more than the Red Sox will pay right now - but weighing against that is the year and a half delay (with a $3 million salary this coming season) and the risk of injury.

Boras is in a weird situation. This is his big chance at the Japanese market - but if he punts a big contract hoping for more, and something happens, he will have hurt his chances for the future in Japan rather seriously.
   109. Best Regards, President of Comfort, Esq. Posted: November 15, 2006 at 06:37 AM (#2238304)
the sox can't lose here, except if matsuzaka sucks.

Or is mediocre. Or really anything but really, really good.
   110. b Posted: November 15, 2006 at 06:39 AM (#2238305)
e can't set the price of his clients so high that they can't get work. he seems to have a good idea of what the market will support, and you have to believe that's governed a lot by what the teams (i.e., the market) tells him they are willing to pay.

Yes, but that price is what DM makes in Japan next year plus what he would make in free agency in '08 and '09. I'm pretty sure Boras does have an idea of what that is, and it doesn't average out to $9 or $10M a year, the number the Sox have floated as what they would like to sign him for.
   111. Jeff K. Posted: November 15, 2006 at 06:41 AM (#2238307)

Or is mediocre. Or really anything but really, really good.


Is anything shy of Cy Young. Because as discussed in IRC, if you start with $51 MM, then add in even a baseline 3/30, you're paying $27 MM per for him to pitch for you.
   112. billyshears Posted: November 15, 2006 at 06:45 AM (#2238309)
On another note, the Red Sox bid $51 million for Matsuzaka, the Mets bid almost $40 million and the Yankees bid . . . $30 million. And this is after we had been hearing for a week that Matsuzaka was the Yankees' #1 off-season priority. So did the Yankees not want this guy as badly as we may have thought or did they misread the market by allowing their two biggest rivals to outbid them?
   113. pkb33 Posted: November 15, 2006 at 06:45 AM (#2238310)
But if Matsui was worth $10 mil five years, I think it's pretty obvious that Matsuzaka is worth something like what I stated, though. Maybe it's $6 mil, maybe it's $8 mil....I don't know.

The Yankees do sell some extra tickets with Matsui that the capacity-constrained Red Sox won't; I'd guess the amount here is like a million bucks or something like that in incremental income, however (which is a lot of seats, remember). Some people will book the trips anyway because let's face it---you don't come from Japan for a day you come for a week or ten days and thus, if you pay a premium for your package they'll get you the seats on whichever day he pitches. And those packages are not discount deals in the least.

I'd suggest that a starting pitcher once every five days becomes a much bigger TV event than someone playing every day. So the shape of the audience certainly does change, but I'm not sure the impact and number of eyeballs does...remember, Matsui only hits four times a game and makes only a few plays a game in the field, while Matsuzaka participates in nearly half the plays on the days he pitches. From the perspective of an advertiser, those things may well equal out (or come close).

The Red Sox have also been a lot more aggressive in marketing than the Yankees have the last few years; whether that will mean they figure out new ways to extract revenue out of Matsuzaka or not we'll just have to see.

I can certainly believe Matsui and Ichiro are worth more; I also think that being worth even half of those guys still means you are making back $20-$30 mil over a four-year deal and that's a significant chunk of the posting fee.
   114. pkb33 Posted: November 15, 2006 at 06:48 AM (#2238313)
So did the Yankees not want this guy as badly as we may have thought or did they misread the market by allowing their two biggest rivals to outbid them?

I suspect the Yankees, already roughly maximizing the Japanese market, didn't include any incremental income expectations in their bid as the Red Sox and Mets did. This also is a very rough way to assess what the teams view his revenue potential as, I'd suggest.
   115. J. Cross Posted: November 15, 2006 at 06:51 AM (#2238314)
On another note, the Red Sox bid $51 million for Matsuzaka, the Mets bid almost $40 million and the Yankees bid . . . $30 million.

One interpretation is this:

1) The Red Sox have no intention of signing him
2) He's worth more to the Mets than the Yankees (marketing-wise) because they don't already have a Japanese star.

I hope I'm wrong about Boston's intentions here but with $51M I am starting to get the feeling that they won't sign him.
   116. Mork Posted: November 15, 2006 at 06:52 AM (#2238315)
Well, it will be a year and a half later - with Matsuzaka correspondingly older.

This is also a weak free agent market - there will be other quality places to spend the money later on. And teams will have spent much of their available money before he becomes eligible.

Add in that he becomes eligible for free agency during the season, and teams may not have the money set aside to sign him at such a high salary level.

He would likely get more than the Red Sox will pay right now - but weighing against that is the year and a half delay (with a $3 million salary this coming season) and the risk of injury.


Yes. These are all good points, which suggests that the rational outcome would be that he would accept a deal modestly lower than he would command as a free agent.

BTW - John Henry made his money trading options, didn't he? You can kind of see how someone with an option valuer's mindset might have made this bid.
   117. Jeff K. Posted: November 15, 2006 at 06:53 AM (#2238316)
I hope I'm wrong about Boston's intentions here but with $51M I am starting to get the feeling that they won't sign him.

What? That $51 MM is now a sunk cost. It's done, unless they renege, at which point he'll go back on the market. With $51 MM sunk, not signing him would be sheer lunacy.
   118. pkb33 Posted: November 15, 2006 at 06:56 AM (#2238321)
What? That $51 MM is now a sunk cost. It's done, unless they renege, at which point he'll go back on the market. With $51 MM sunk, not signing him would be sheer lunacy.

It's not at all sunk yet---if they don't agree to a contract with DM they don't have to pay the posting fee.
   119. Best Regards, President of Comfort, Esq. Posted: November 15, 2006 at 06:56 AM (#2238323)
I hope I'm wrong about Boston's intentions here but with $51M I am starting to get the feeling that they won't sign him.

So unless they don't bargain in good faith and he goes to the Mets, then he'll end up a Yankee in a year and a half.
   120. bibigon Posted: November 15, 2006 at 06:57 AM (#2238324)
What? That $51 MM is now a sunk cost. It's done, unless they renege, at which point he'll go back on the market. With $51 MM sunk, not signing him would be sheer lunacy.


Um, what? The $51M is certainly not a sunk cost...

If they offer him 5/$55M now, and Boras turns it down, demanding something like 3/$50M instead, and the two sides can't reach an agreement, then that's it. The Red Sox made a good faith offer, so he doesn't go to the 2nd place team, and the Red Sox keep the $51M.

The $51M is anything but a sunk cost.
   121. Jeff K. Posted: November 15, 2006 at 06:59 AM (#2238329)
Um, what? The $51M is certainly not a sunk cost...

If they offer him 5/$55M now, and Boras turns it down, demanding something like 3/$50M instead, and the two sides can't reach an agreement, then that's it. The Red Sox made a good faith offer, so he doesn't go to the 2nd place team, and the Red Sox keep the $51M.

The $51M is anything but a sunk cost.


Okay, then perhaps I've been misunderstanding this whole thing (which is likely, as I've barely been paying attention.) I thought the $51 MM was for exclusive negotiating rights; basically, they pay the $51 MM for the rights to him until his FA in Japan, which is, IIRC, 18 months away. IOW, the $51 MM says "Either you agree to a contract with us, or you don't play in MLB for 18 months."
   122. bibigon Posted: November 15, 2006 at 07:02 AM (#2238330)

I suspect the Yankees, already roughly maximizing the Japanese market, didn't include any incremental income expectations in their bid as the Red Sox and Mets did. This also is a very rough way to assess what the teams view his revenue potential as, I'd suggest.


I think this is right. Furthermore, I suspect the Mets expected their $40M bid to be the one to blow everyone else out of the water. The Mets have even more to gain from the Japanese market than the Red Sox do, which explains why they'd make a bid about $10M more than anyone was expecting.

That's the real question for me - why did the Red Sox bid $51M, while the Mets bid $40M, when the Mets likely had more to gain.
   123. bibigon Posted: November 15, 2006 at 07:04 AM (#2238331)


Okay, then perhaps I've been misunderstanding this whole thing (which is likely, as I've barely been paying attention.) I thought the $51 MM was for exclusive negotiating rights; basically, they pay the $51 MM for the rights to him until his FA in Japan, which is, IIRC, 18 months away. IOW, the $51 MM says "Either you agree to a contract with us, or you don't play in MLB for 18 months."


Nah, they don't have anywhere that kind of leverage. They have 30 days to sign a contract with Matsuzaka. If they do, then they have 5 days to give Seibu $51M. If they don't sign a contract, and Selig doesn't think the Red Sox were negotiating in bad faith, then he goes back to Japan, and the Red Sox keep the money.
   124. Mork Posted: November 15, 2006 at 07:06 AM (#2238333)
That's the real question for me - why did the Red Sox bid $51M, while the Mets bid $40M, when the Mets likely had more to gain.

Perhaps if you take into account the value of him not going to the Yankees, the Red Sox had more to gain.
   125. bibigon Posted: November 15, 2006 at 07:06 AM (#2238334)
Where are you getting the 200 miles from...I've never seen that defined as part of local revenue, I thought merchandise sales was all shared revenue. Is that a recent change or something?


Hmm, I'd always heard it as 200 miles - which is what's defined as the team's local revenue stream.
   126. Grunthos Posted: November 15, 2006 at 07:08 AM (#2238336)
Keep in mind, everyone, that this transfer fee wouldn't even crack the top five in soccer. Real Madrid paid roughly $90 million for the negotiating rights to Zinedine Zidane 5 years ago. Now, Zidane doesn't get the same salary as Matzusaka is looking at, and Real Madrid have special financial resources... but the fact remains, this isn't drastically out of line *if* you think Matzusaka will be a star pitcher.
   127. billyshears Posted: November 15, 2006 at 07:09 AM (#2238337)
I wouldn't be surprised if the Red Sox try to play hardball here. Boras and Matsuzaka are in a corner - no other team to turn to and, if they don't make a deal, Matsuzaka makes less in 2007 by going back to Japan and will be in an awkward position in 2008 because he doesn't become a free agent until May 1, 2008. If Boston sticks to their guns at something like 4/$36 mil, Matsuzaka may ultimately be best served by just taking the deal. Of course $22 mil/year is still an outlandish expenditure for a player, but condsidering the oportunities that Matsuzaka allegedly presents, it may not be completely outlandish.

Another thing to consider is that by all accounts Boras is a very intelligent and creative agent. I wouldn't be surprised if at the end of the day there is some sort of profit sharing arrangement between the Red Sox and Matsuzaka for certain revenue streams that Matsuzaka enables the Red Sox to generate.
   128. robinred Posted: November 15, 2006 at 07:12 AM (#2238340)
Is there precedent for a player receiving so much money and matching or exceeding the expectations associated with that cost?

Well, going way, way back, I remember Dave Parker's, Reggie Jackson's and Nolan Ryan's contracts being big deals from my childhood. Parker took some crap about his contract; so did Dave Winfield. But the relevant baseball comparison is probably Alex Rodriguez in that the dollar figure is ingrained into the shitstorm that surrounds the guy. Kevin Brown, the "105M dollar man", took some ####, too. OTOH, I remember Michael Jordan's last couple of contracts with the Bulls. About $35M a year, in the 1990s, IIRC, but I heard many fans in conversation essentially say \"#### it, it's Jordan, he should get it if anybody should." So, in a way, that is the grassroots, talk radio bar for all massive, unprecedented athlete acquisition outlays: Michael Jordan, attaching all obvious caveats. If Dice-K (I expect that to catch on) has a couple of years as the best in the game, is liked by the fans and media, performs with verve and flair, and the Red Sox win the trophy a couple of times with his kicking some ass in October, no one will give a #### about the money. If he has trouble, though, I don't think the fact that HE doesn't get to keep the 51 million will shield him much.


I think the enormous outdistancing of the Sox bid of every other places an enormous pressure on this young man. Regardless of how people count the money, everyone will speak of the huge dollars the Sox spent on him and that will create media expectation against which his EVERY action will be measured.


Well, unless he meets the standards above and to some extent even if he does, he will always be the "51.1M dollar man" in some quarters. The fact they are paying 51M to TALK to him (Boras) will stick in folks' minds as much if not more than whatever his playing contract figure is. I am not sure how good his English is, but I expect the media pressure will be much more from Japan than here in Matsuzaka's own mind (perhaps you meant this) and I think the cultural difference may help him distance/shield himself from the maelstrom if he does in fact sign with the Red Sox.

I guess that's a roundabout way of asking is it more likely he'll be Irabu or Ichiro?

Ichiro, IMO. Everything I have heard indicates Matsuzaka is a very special pitcher. The issue appears to be potential injury or usage-related decline more than ability.

Another related question: Who is the most successful Japanese SP who jumped straight from Japan to MLB?

I suppose Nomo, who started the All-Star game his first year, was unhittable in stretches that year and had other good years.
   129. robinred Posted: November 15, 2006 at 07:15 AM (#2238342)
One other potential revenue stream--movie rights:

Boras: Economic Learnings of Boston for Make Benefit Glorious Pitcher from Japan
   130. billyshears Posted: November 15, 2006 at 07:16 AM (#2238343)
Keep in mind, everyone, that this transfer fee wouldn't even crack the top five in soccer. Real Madrid paid roughly $90 million for the negotiating rights to Zinedine Zidane 5 years ago. Now, Zidane doesn't get the same salary as Matzusaka is looking at, and Real Madrid have special financial resources... but the fact remains, this isn't drastically out of line *if* you think Matzusaka will be a star pitcher.

But Matsuzaka doesn't play soccer. I have no idea what Real Madrid's annual revenue is that would allow them to pay that kind of money (or what they would pay Zidance in annual salary), but I imagine that it is a lot higher than any baseball team, so you would expect them to put a higher value on star players than a baseball team.
   131. robinred Posted: November 15, 2006 at 07:23 AM (#2238345)
Here is a little sample--this is on ESPN.com tonight:

Sum of the Parts
For $51.1 million you could have a conversation with Daisuke Matsuzaka (right) ... or you could assemble an entire staff of the best pitchers of 2006, including the top five starters in ERA, the top five relievers in holds, and the top closer in saves with $2.274 million left over for the league's best bullpen catcher:
Player Pos. 2006 Salary
Johan Santana, MIN SP $8.75M
Brandon Webb, ARI SP $2.5M
Roy Halladay, TOR SP $12.75M
Roy Oswalt, HOU SP $11M
Chris Carpenter, STL SP $5M
Scot Shields, LAA RP $2.1M
Joel Zumaya, DET RP $327K
Aaron Heilman, NYM RP $359K
Scott Linebrink, SD RP $1.365M
Juan Rincon, MIN RP $900K
Francisco Rodriguez, LAA CL $3.775M
Total salary -- $48.826M


So, yeah, that's prssure, I guess.
   132. Gaelan Posted: November 15, 2006 at 07:26 AM (#2238347)
I'll go on record that Boston will offer something like 5 or six years at around 50 million total and that DMat (it's easier to spell) will take it. That works out for both sides. Boston gets the best pitcher available for around market value and DMat gets to come to the majors right away with a big contract. Sure it's not as big as he would get in a year but I'd rather have 50 million tomorrow than a chance (however good) of 100 million in a year. Through in the prestige factor of the majors and the fact that he's obviously mentally already here and I think it's a no brainer that he'll say yes. I'll be shocked if he isn't in the majors next year.

If he says no to that offer Boston can walk away without having lost anything.
   133. Grunthos Posted: November 15, 2006 at 07:28 AM (#2238349)
*sigh* I should have expected cluelessness, but it's still dispiriting.

Real Madrid: Annual gross income ~$300 million, player wages ~$150 million, yearly profits ~$10-15 million. In other words, they are slightly smaller than the Yankees.

As I noted, Real has certain special financial advantages (in terms of favorable loan rates from Spanish banks, marketing opportunities in Spanish-speaking countries, etc.). So $90 million is, in fact, more than a baseball team would be expected to lay out. And Matsuzaka isn't as good (in relative terms) as Zidane. But the idea that figures like $50 million for a player is some kind of stratospheric new high for the sports world is stretching it. A lot.
   134. bibigon Posted: November 15, 2006 at 07:40 AM (#2238351)
Real Madrid: Annual gross income ~$300 million, player wages ~$150 million, yearly profits ~$10-15 million. In other words, they are slightly smaller than the Yankees.


Annual gross income of $300M makes them only slightly smaller than the Yankees? Really?
   135. KJOK Posted: November 15, 2006 at 07:42 AM (#2238352)
Someone joked in a earlier Matsuzaka thread about Boston just buying the Seibu franchise instead....turns out that maybe wasn't quite so far-fetched an idea after all...
   136. Grunthos Posted: November 15, 2006 at 07:45 AM (#2238354)
Sorry, wrong term. Yearly turnover (meaning gate receipts, direct club revenues, etc.) is $300 M. AGI would include TV revenues. I don't have those figures to hand, but I also don't imagine that the Yankees MLB and YES Network revenues are vastly greater, or smaller, than what Real is getting in media fees.
   137. MM1f Posted: November 15, 2006 at 07:54 AM (#2238355)
"*sigh* I should have expected cluelessness, but it's still dispiriting."

Sounds like youre the one with the cluelessness issue. You are comparing apples and oranges.

"but the fact remains, this isn't drastically out of line *if* you think Matzusaka will be a star pitcher."

Yes it is...the total expenditure for Matsuzakas services would be very out of line even for a star pitcher IN BASEBALL. As the post above pointed out...
Johan < 9 mil
Oswalt = 11 mil
Halladay < 13 mil.

Yes the money spent on Matsuzaka would be out of line for an ace MLB pitcher

Can I point out that (random bad NFL contract) is really a bargain because its not totally garunteed and that (insert random MLBer here) makes (x amount)? You are comparing different sports, different business structures, different countries, and different salary scales...and then saying others are clueless to point out that thats a stretch of a comp?
   138. Grunthos Posted: November 15, 2006 at 07:56 AM (#2238356)
The major counterargument to soccer transfer fees being comparable to this situation would be: soccer clubs can expect to sell those rights again later on, thus making the transfer outlay an investment rather than a purely sunk cost. The Red Sox aren't going to be able to resell Matsuzaka in three years for, say, $25 M and thus defray costs.

Personally, I think the situations are reasonably comparable, given the financial structures of North American baseball teams/leagues and European soccer teams/leagues generally. Others will no doubt feel differently. However, I am going to bed, so argue or not, as you please.
   139. MM1f Posted: November 15, 2006 at 07:56 AM (#2238357)
"Someone joked in a earlier Matsuzaka thread about Boston just buying the Seibu franchise instead....turns out that maybe wasn't quite so far-fetched an idea after all..."

How much do Japanese teams sell for?..how comparaable is their worth to an average US baseball franchise?

Just curious
   140. billyshears Posted: November 15, 2006 at 07:57 AM (#2238358)
*sigh* I should have expected cluelessness, but it's still dispiriting.

Real Madrid: Annual gross income ~$300 million, player wages ~$150 million, yearly profits ~$10-15 million. In other words, they are slightly smaller than the Yankees.

As I noted, Real has certain special financial advantages (in terms of favorable loan rates from Spanish banks, marketing opportunities in Spanish-speaking countries, etc.). So $90 million is, in fact, more than a baseball team would be expected to lay out. And Matsuzaka isn't as good (in relative terms) as Zidane. But the idea that figures like $50 million for a player is some kind of stratospheric new high for the sports world is stretching it. A lot.


I should have expected the first person to bring soccer into the discussion to be a pompous ass, but it's still dispiriting. Soccer is soccer. Baseball is baseball. Football is football. The "sports world" is not really a viabile realm of comparison because each sport has differing economic models and constraints that affect the value place on the respective players. On a basic level, I assumed that greater revenues would leas to greater values placed on player rights and maybe I was wrong about that, but I don't think you can say that Real Madrid paid $90 million for Zidane so the fee for Matsuzaka is nothing special, unless you can also tell me that in all other respects, the costs of running a soccer team and the associated revenue is comparable to that of a baseball team. You youself note several of the discrepancies in your post. So while $90 million may not be an unheard of some to pay for the rights to an athlete, as best anybody can tell (granted that this is a very unusual circumstance for baseball in any case), it is an unheard of some for a baseball team to pay for a player given the economic factors applicable to them. And really, that's the only sensible point of reference. Anything else just isn't an apples to apples comparison.
   141. Grunthos Posted: November 15, 2006 at 08:00 AM (#2238359)
Sounds like youre the one with the cluelessness issue


Lordy, I forgot contributors sometimes lack the ability to read text. The cluelessness in question was not understanding squat about finances in another sport. And I don't think that the figures for baseball expenditures alone, in a trade-oriented market, are a reasonable comp for the outlays teams make when buying negotiating rights. Soccer is the major example of a sport where this happens regularly. But go ahead, be parochial.
   142. Grunthos Posted: November 15, 2006 at 08:01 AM (#2238361)
billyshears, you have now mananged to completely misread my general point. But, as I said, I'm done for the night, so you can rejoice in my departure.
   143. Mork Posted: November 15, 2006 at 08:03 AM (#2238362)
But go ahead, be parochial.

I don't think it's parochial. It's just that the rules that apply to player transactions in the two sports are so different that any comparison is meaningless.
   144. billyshears Posted: November 15, 2006 at 08:22 AM (#2238366)
billyshears, you have now mananged to completely misread my general point. But, as I said, I'm done for the night, so you can rejoice in my departure.

Well, I was rejoicing after you left for the first time in post 138, but alas, I was premature. I'f I've misread your point, I apologize, but apparently, I'm in good company on this board in that regard. As far as I can tell, your point was that if we considered transfer fees in soccer in the context of the fee the Red Sox have agreed to pay for the rights to Matsuzaka, we would take a more moderate view of their bid. So far, you're the only one who believes this is a relevant comparison. If I've misinterpreted you, please correct me.
   145. Athletic Supporter can feel the slow rot Posted: November 15, 2006 at 08:30 AM (#2238368)
Soccer is soccer. Baseball is baseball. Football is football.

Actually, you're wrong. Soccer is football. What a country!
   146. Cooper Nielson Posted: November 15, 2006 at 11:38 AM (#2238386)
I haven't been following the Matsuzaka threads closely, so maybe the answer to this question is common knowledge, but I'm wondering:

If Boras and Matsuzaka play hardball and refuse to accept Boston's "good-faith" offer, is Seibu permitted to step into the negotiations to help out?

For instance, let's say the Red Sox are willing to pay no more than $100 million TOTAL for 4 years of Matsuzaka -- $51.1 million for the negotiating rights, plus $48.9 directly to Matsuzaka (and Boras) over 4 years. Boras then says, "Sorry, that's not enough. We won't sign for anything less than $60 million. Daisuke is going to return to Japan for a year if he can't get $60 million."

If they reach this impasse, it seems that the party with the most to lose is not Boston, not Matsuzaka, but the SEIBU club. Would they rather hold on to Matsuzaka for one more year with no payoff at the end, or would they rather have a check for $51 million and no Matsuzaka in 2007? $51 million can patch a lot of holes.

So if Seibu sees that the negotiations aren't going well, could they step in and say, "Hey Boston, here's $11.1 million. Use it to pay Daisuke."

Net result:

* Seibu loses Matsuzaka, but gets $40 million. It's less than $51.1 million, but it's much more than nothing.
* Matsuzaka gets $60 million for 4 years; probably less than he would get on an "open" market, but probably more than he would get over those 4 years if he played one of them in Japan at $3 million.
* Boston gets the pitcher they want for $25 million a year, which they feel is a reasonable price.

All the numbers are theoretical, of course, but could something like this happen? Are there rules in Japan or the U.S. that would prevent it? If so, are there any loopholes they could use? (Seibu purchasing Gabe Kapler's contract for *wink wink* $11.1 million?)
   147. Swedish Chef Posted: November 15, 2006 at 11:53 AM (#2238387)
I think everybody plays it straight.

My guess at the contract:

3 year, 39 million
2 option years at 15 million apiece
1 option year at 18 million.
   148. Francoeur Sans Gages (AlouGoodbye) Posted: November 15, 2006 at 01:56 PM (#2238394)
I think the comparison to "soccer" is partly sensible, partly misleading.

To the extent that the comparison is valid, I think people are seriously overestimating the amount of the $51m that Matsuzaka would get to pocket were he a free agent. Sam made an excellent post in #85 which bears repeating:
That's a bit misleading. Actually, it's a lot misleading. The $50M certainly depresses Matsuzaka's market value, but it's not like he would recoup anything close to all of that as a FA. The teams bid that to capture Seibu's rights, not Matsuzaka's, so it reflects the value of the right to negotiate exclusively with Matsuzaka (which is what Seibu owned). And they were competing with one another for that exclusivity. They won't have to bid for that a year from now, and they won't be bidding blind against each other, because they won't be paying off Seibu and exclusive rights won't be for sale.

Boras has to recognize this. No doubt, Matsuzaka can get more per year for himself next year. But he won't get the entire $51M, either.
And here's the comparison with football; players who sign as free agents (under the Bosman rule) do not get anything like the entire value of their transfer fees. Nothing like it. It is on this level that Grunthos's comparison to the Zidane transfer is instructive. Zidane could have waited out his contract (18 more months IIRC) and signed for any club in the world without a transfer fee. So why did he agree to the transfer? Why are there any transfers with large fees in football, if a player could pocket anything close to that value by waiting till the end of the contract?

Those who think that a fee this size means Matsuzaka can't sign (because he'll want that $51m for himself) don't know what they're talking about.

Obviously, however, I don't think you can justify the $51m fee based on football transfer fees. That's where the analogy breaks down. Football is football and baseball is baseball.
   149. bunyon Posted: November 15, 2006 at 02:34 PM (#2238404)
Whoa. Just whoa. I was much more shocked when I saw $51.1 million scrawl across my screen last night than I was when I first read about the A-Rod contract. I've enjoyed reading this discussion because I'm utter crap with finances and business but on the surface, as a fan, this is incredible.

Also, NPR had a story on this morning about this. I bring it up to point out that they said he had a "gyro-ball" which, they admitted, may be mostly mythical.

Put me in the camp that says he'll sign.
   150. bunyon Posted: November 15, 2006 at 02:37 PM (#2238406)
Also, is the 51.1 a sign that the Sox thought someone would bid 50, so they go to 51 and then decide someone else may think that way so they go to 51.1? They should have done $51,111,111.11.
   151. ieddyi Posted: November 15, 2006 at 02:48 PM (#2238412)
Andrew Zimbalist- the authority on baseball economics-

"Zimbalist estimated that the Sox might gain no more than $3 million a year by cashing in on the Japanese icon because they would be required under major league rules to equally distribute the vast majority of their earnings related to the merchandising of Matsuzaka with the 29 other teams"

So much for the maketing bonanza
   152. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: November 15, 2006 at 02:49 PM (#2238413)
I say he's signed in a week. Let's get this done and start putting together the rest of the team.

This offseason, from a pure Sox fan perspective, is already better and more exciting than the last two.
   153. PJ Martinez Posted: November 15, 2006 at 02:53 PM (#2238414)
"Johan < 9 mil
Oswalt = 11 mil
Halladay < 13 mil"

I don't know much about these contracts, but, given that each player is with his original MLB team, aren't there some non-market forces at work here keeping those figures down? Is there any doubt that if any one of those guys hit the market this year they'd be looking at about 20m a year? (Hard to say yet, I realize, without many contracts signed, but that's how much I'd guess.)

There are at least two ways this turns out to be a bad decision: 1) Matsuzaka isn't that good, meaning Boston scouting has screwed up again, or 2) he's fine, but all the money they spent on him makes them unable to go after some other great player within the next couple of years, keeping them from getting to the next level. In which case someone made a bad economic decision.

Unless one of those two occurs, I don't really care what the "market" for him was.
   154. JC in DC Posted: November 15, 2006 at 02:55 PM (#2238415)
I agree w/MCoA. I think the signing will be quick and easy. I'm impressed by the Sox's FO aggression. As a NYY fan, I'm worried.

Is Lou Gorman still alive?
   155. PJ Martinez Posted: November 15, 2006 at 02:56 PM (#2238416)
"So much for the maketing bonanza."

How's that 3m compare to signing, say, Zito? It's probably a lot more, right? If so, and you figure that's 3m for the life of the contract-- let's say, 4 years (and yes, I'm just making up numbers here)-- that's 12m. That's a far cry from 50m, but it's not nothing.
   156. Famous Original Joe C Posted: November 15, 2006 at 03:02 PM (#2238418)
1) They are going to sign him.

2) The $51.1 million bid is being misinterpreted as though it's a part of their payroll or something. It does not count towards the salary cap. It's merely an investment. Maybe they don't recoup it all, maybe they have a plan to, none of us have any idea. The camp that's spinning this like "OMG!!! 25 million a year for a guy who will have a 4 ERA!!!1" just don't get it.

By all accounts, the Red Sox *payroll* is limited to the salary cap ceiling. Matsuzaka will cost less *under the salary cap* than Zito or Schmidt, and potentially even guys like Suppan. They may be spending more on *player expenditures*, or whatever you'd like to call it, but besides getting them the best guy available, this also leaves them more room under the salary cap to add other pieces, which is the only restraint they have. Even if you consider him equal to Schmidt or Zito, he's still a better investment for the Red Sox for this reason.

3) While certainly there's a nonzero chance that he's a bust, or is only a 4 ERA guy, he's the best pitcher available, he's healthy, and he's 26 to boot. If the Mets or Yankees had made the high bid, the same Mets and Yankees fans here who are saying it's too big of a risk or too much money would be saying, "(Omar/George/Brian) did just what they should have - paid for premium talent - and even if they overpaid a little, they got the best guy out there, which is just what a team with a high payroll should do."
   157. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: November 15, 2006 at 03:05 PM (#2238420)
Man, my copy of the Child Molesters' "(I'm the) Hillside Strangler" 7" brought $560 on eBay a couple of weeks ago. Guess I could've added a few zeroes to that total if I could've gotten Theo interested ...
   158. PJ Martinez Posted: November 15, 2006 at 03:12 PM (#2238423)
"If the Mets or Yankees had made the high bid, the same Mets and Yankees fans here who are saying it's too big of a risk or too much money would be saying, "(Omar/George/Brian) did just what they should have - paid for premium talent - and even if they overpaid a little, they got the best guy out there, which is just what a team with a high payroll should do."

This is true, and they'd be right, but I'm sure plenty of Sox fans would be moaning about the ridiculous advantage the Yankees have if they had bid 50m. And while I'd like to think I wouldn't be one of them, I'm not sure I would disagree.

But the Sox apparently have lots of money, and they spent it agressively. I'm happy about that.
   159. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: November 15, 2006 at 03:15 PM (#2238425)
That's a far cry from 50m, but it's not nothing.

Bingo. Who says they have to recoup it all? They certainly can expect *some* new revenue to offset some of the $51M.

The signing may be relatively easy, but I doubt that it will be quick. It's in Boras' interest to drag things out a bit. A few weeks of uncertainty will benefit his other clients.

If the Mets or Yankees had made the high bid, the same Mets and Yankees fans here who are saying it's too big of a risk or too much money would be saying, "(Omar/George/Brian) did just what they should have - paid for premium talent - and even if they overpaid a little, they got the best guy out there, which is just what a team with a high payroll should do."

Yeah, yeah, yeah. And what would Red Sox fans be saying if the Yankees had outbid everybody else by 33%?

I agree that the Red Sox are going to bump their payroll right up to the tax threshold. Then you throw in whatever fraction of the posting fee they're not likely to recoup. It's pretty obvious that they could have been spending a lot more than they have the past couple of years, but simply chose not to. Now, I'm not criticizing them for either spending less in the past or spending more now -- those choices are theirs to make, and both can be justified in their own way. But inquiring minds want to know: does Darren still think that they couldn't afford Bobby Abreu?
   160. 'zop sympathizes with the wrong ####### people Posted: November 15, 2006 at 03:15 PM (#2238426)
the same Mets and Yankees fans here who are saying it's too big of a risk or too much money would be saying, "(Omar/George/Brian) did just what they should have - paid for premium talent - and even if they overpaid a little, they got the best guy out there, which is just what a team with a high payroll should do."

Bullshit. 20 per to ANY pitcher over a long term, guaranteed deal is borderline crazy. Maybe you can defend it for a top-top-tippity-top ace, but that's about it. If the Yankees did this, I'd be pulling my hair out, figuring that Cashman's power had been usurped.

Matsuzaka is no sure thing. He's very likely to be successful, but there are no guarantees. Good velocity and good scouting reports and, hell, good results in other leagues; none of these factors guarantee success. Look at Felix Hernandez last season. Look at the litany of prospects or Japanese imports that have failed. You never know with a non-MLB player. That's why 20 mil+ per season is utterly insane.

I'm glad the Yankees stayed out of this one. I think that if the ability to absorb salary is retained, there's more opportunity to pick up underpriced talent in-season than during the mob-rule of the free agency period. I also don't have nearly enough confidence in the Yankee scouts to believe them if they said "Matsuzaka=100% chance of success". And given the recent results of players like Beckett, Clement, Crisp, and Renteria, I don't see how Bostonites have that kind of confidence in their team, either.
   161. Sam M. Posted: November 15, 2006 at 03:22 PM (#2238432)
The $51.1 million bid is being misinterpreted as though it's a part of their payroll or something. It does not count towards the salary cap. It's merely an investment. Maybe they don't recoup it all, maybe they have a plan to, none of us have any idea. The camp that's spinning this like "OMG!!! 25 million a year for a guy who will have a 4 ERA!!!1" just don't get it.

It's not part of "payroll" in the sense of counting towards the luxury tax (not the "salary cap" -- there is no salary cap, as Selig once liked to lament). But it is a player acquisition cost, so do the semantics really matter? He's NOT going to cost the Red Sox less than ANY of the pitchers you mentioned, Joe, in any meaningful way. If they sign Matsuzake, they are going to have to cut a really, REALLY big check, from some corner of their budget, in 30 days, to the tune of a cool $51M. You can spin that any way you like it. After that, he's still, in addition, going to cost them millions of dollars per year in direct payroll costs. Zito and Schmidt and Suppan and all the others will require a lesser immediate outlay (by several orders of magnitude). Any reasonable accounting of the present value of the COST of acquiring these players would show that Matsuzake is costing the Red Sox a whole heck of a lot more.

That said: any reasonable accounting of the value he brings would also show that he is worth a lot more than those other guys. Zimbalist knows a lot more than I do about these things, but I suspect he's well on the low side of this, if only because I believe the Red Sox know their business model even better than he does and their bid makes little sense if they could realize only $3M/year in additional revenue. I also think Matsuzake is probably a better on-field investment than those others, and thus worth paying more to obtain.

So let's be reasonable on both sides of the equation: it's patently obvious Matsuzake is costing the Red Sox more. This artificial "under the salary cap payroll" construct to try to argue he's costing the Red Sox less is just silly -- especially since there's no such thing as a salary cap! But it's just as obvious he's bringing the Red Sox more. Whether the "books" will balance in the end is impossible to know until the story plays itself out.

For my part, I think it is one heck of a gamble, and I think they bid too much. Exceeding the next-highest bid by more than $10M is my biggest clue, because I doubt they can realize that much more revenue than the Mets (the rumored next-highest bidder) would have. And that assumes the Mets' bid was itself rational. But overpaying for quality is hardly the worst mistake a team can make, and I think Matsuzake will perform well. So it's a "little m" mistake, not a "capital M" MISTAKE.
   162. PJ Martinez Posted: November 15, 2006 at 03:25 PM (#2238433)
"But inquiring minds want to know: does Darren still think that they couldn't afford Bobby Abreu?"

I think they could have afforded him, but didn't see him as being worth it. Just like they didn't see Damon as being worth it. In both cases, they seem to have underestimated the significance of letting that player go to the Yankees. Perhaps that contributed to their massive bid for another player the Yankees sought (albeit, in this case, they probably also believe he's the most important player for themselves to acquire, too).
   163. PJ Martinez Posted: November 15, 2006 at 03:28 PM (#2238438)
"Zimbalist knows a lot more than I do about these things, but I suspect he's well on the low side of this, if only because I believe the Red Sox know their business model even better than he does and their bid makes little sense if they could realize only $3M/year in additional revenue."

Also, in the quote provided (which isn't a direct quote), Zimbalist is said to have said the Sox "might" make as little as 3m/yr in additional revenue. I'd be curious what he thinks "might" be the upper limit, since the quote suggests that's, if not the lower limit, toward the bottom.
   164. Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: November 15, 2006 at 03:33 PM (#2238445)
Is Zimbalist saying that Matsuzaka might bring in $3m in additional revenue above what another star player would bring in, or just $3m in additional raw revenue?
   165. PJ Martinez Posted: November 15, 2006 at 03:37 PM (#2238453)
"That's pretty rich," said Andrew Zimbalist, a Smith College economist who specializes in baseball finances, of the projected investment. "But it looks like it's more about winning than revenues."

http://www.boston.com/sports/baseball/redsox/articles/2006/11/14/sox_511m_bid_wins_right_to_matsuzaka/?p1=MEWell_Pos5
   166. Famous Original Joe C Posted: November 15, 2006 at 03:48 PM (#2238461)
This is true, and they'd be right, but I'm sure plenty of Sox fans would be moaning about the ridiculous advantage the Yankees have if they had bid 50m. And while I'd like to think I wouldn't be one of them, I'm not sure I would disagree.

Also true.

Sam, I do agree with you to a point - it's an enourmous sum of money, and it has to come from someplace, yes, but we aren't privy to whether this is "we can afford this, no problem" type of money (to the Red Sox), or a "man, we really want this guy, this might be a big risk and could really tie us up if he doesn't work out, but here goes!" money.

You can certainly make the argument that they bid "too much" - the magnitude of their bid screams, "we're going to get this guy no matter what".

Where I disagree with you, Sam, (and I think it's just a matter of semantics), is that while, yes, the Red Sox payroll could conceivably exceed the "salary cap", by my understanding, this is going to be the ceiling on their payroll - that is, they will not exceed the ~$140 million figure in pure salary, even if they could financially do so (the Henry/Selig connection at work?).

Let's say Matsuzaka gets $11m/year, and Zito gets $15m/per. Yes, Matsuzaka cost more in real terms, but he will cost $4m less towards the payroll. That extra 4m under the Red Sox imposed salary ceiling (I won't use salary cap here, because, you're right, it's not a cap really at all) can be spent elsewhere.

Now, I'll also readily admit that this is nothing more than conjecture on my part - but I think there's a reasonable chance that this or a similar line of thinking had some influence on the Red Sox decision to bid so aggresively.
   167. JPWF13 Posted: November 15, 2006 at 03:56 PM (#2238465)
The signing may be relatively easy, but I doubt that it will be quick. It's in Boras' interest to drag things out a bit. A few weeks of uncertainty will benefit his other clients.


It's not just in Boras' interest to drag things out a bit- it's in his interest to drag things out until next year when Matsuzaka will be a free agent- so that $ now going to Seibu would go to him and his client.

One thing I hadn't considered before was the possibility of a kickback- someone earlier suggested that Seibu may give some $ back under the table to Boston- no way- what's much more likely is that Boras will go to Seibu and say- "the posting fee is my client's money by all rights- it would be in his pcket not yours if he was a FA- which he will be next year- so you have 2 choices- 1: give my client half- or 2: he doesn't sign with Boston and you have to pay my client for 2007 and he becomes a FA after that and you get nothing"

Most people seem to be forgetting the Boras factor- ANY money paid by Boston he will see as money that's rightfully his client's- he will only recommend to his client that he sign if he thinks it's a better deal than waiting a year- and unless a goodly chunk of that posting fee is kicked back to his client- I don't see that happening.
   168. bunyon Posted: November 15, 2006 at 03:58 PM (#2238470)
I wonder if the almost self-imposed ceiling the Sox put on themselves isn't there just a bit in order to impose some discipline. One builds a winning team through talent evaluation, player development, shrewd trades and smart FA signings. If one simply assumes you can get anyone you want, anytime you want, there could be a temptation to not be as careful or thoughtful in all these areas. While you can probably have some success by spending wildly, it isn't a good long term plan and is certainly no guarantee. Obviously, all else being equal, the team that spends more will likely win. But if spending more means all else isn't equal, it could bite you.

I've thought about this with the Yankees. Who knows how high they could take their payroll? Say they spend $300 million and can "afford" it. That won't give them as much an advantage as it should if they don't continue to discipline their thought process as if they were spending 100 million. So, maybe it is wise for a team to just set a limit and try to adhere to it in order to motivate clear thinking in other areas. /ramble
   169. PJ Martinez Posted: November 15, 2006 at 04:01 PM (#2238472)
Somehow the most obvious point here has not, I think, been made, or not recently (perhaps because it's so obvious?): The Red Sox decided, based, presumably, on scouting and statistical projections, that Matsuzaka is a world-class talent-- near HoF levels. If they're right, the massive bid won't look bad. If they're wrong, then, well, they blew it. They misjudged talent. Wouldn't be the first time.
   170. PJ Martinez Posted: November 15, 2006 at 04:02 PM (#2238473)
"until next year when Matsuzaka will be a free agent"

Recent news reports went back to saying he's two years away. Were they wrong?
   171. Dan Posted: November 15, 2006 at 04:04 PM (#2238475)
While the Red Sox of late have been mediocre at best in evaluating pitching to sign, I'd be more concerned about the Red Sox's evaluation of Matsuzaka if the Mets hadn't thought highly enough of him to bid $38 million.
   172. I am Ted F'ing Williams Posted: November 15, 2006 at 04:05 PM (#2238476)
Look, there's only so much more revenue they can suck out of that fanbase.

They can suck a lot more money out of NESN. Heck, if the fanbase is willing to spend $46 to sit in a crappy ballpark a couple times a year, they'll be willing to spend another $3 a month for NESN. And that doesn't even count the TV junkies who don't watch much sports but won't let go of a few TV channels - when their bill goes up they'll just blame Comcast instead of the Red Sox.
   173. JPWF13 Posted: November 15, 2006 at 04:05 PM (#2238478)
Recent news reports went back to saying he's two years away. Were they wrong?


No idea, I've seen conflicting reports, including one that says he becomes a FA in 5/08... now that's a pretty odd date- Japan's in the same hemisphere as us and their season is pretty much at the same time
   174. Dan Posted: November 15, 2006 at 04:05 PM (#2238479)
He's a FA in May of 2008, so it's not quite 2 years, but it's more than one.
   175. Zach Posted: November 15, 2006 at 04:12 PM (#2238485)
I have a lot of trouble seeing how this makes sense for Boston.

Suppose Boston signs Matsuzaka to a contract that Matsuzaka is happy with. Is that contract likely to be so far under the free market rate, or are the fringe benefits so large that Boston could sell the contract for $51 million? If it is, why wouldn't Matsuzaka claim a hefty fraction of that $51 million by waiting a year? $51 million pays a lot of insurance premiums, if you're worried about injury.
   176. Dave Cyprian Posted: November 15, 2006 at 04:15 PM (#2238489)
We're not going to sign this guy. A $50 million posting fee is a joke.. in the years since John Henry and Theo and the gang showed up, how many times have they thrown money at a player without consideration for whether the sun will rise tomorrow? Not often. They wouldn't sign A-Rod because of like 3 million bucks.

How many times have they played hilarious shenanigans to disadvantage and deceive the Yankees? Several times per year. I would love, LOVE to get a good pitcher like Matsuzaka in our rotation for '07, but I'll believe it when the ink dries.
   177. Backlasher Posted: November 15, 2006 at 04:16 PM (#2238492)
If they're wrong, then, well, they blew it. They misjudged talent. Wouldn't be the first time.


What in the world is that suppose to mean. I'm pretty sure that based on scouting and statistical projection, the KC Royals thought Neifi Perez was going to be an All Star shortstop. Well, they misjudged talent. It wasn't the first time. And after a few times, it sparked a regime change.

That has all the trappings of saying, they will either have a good season or they will not. If they don't, it wouldn't be the first time.

There are multiple things worth consideration in evaluating this, and many of the posters are touching on them. If the bid numbers are correct, it looks like the Sox already made an evaluation mistake in gauging a relevant market.

The rest of the story is yet to play out.
   178. Best Regards, President of Comfort, Esq. Posted: November 15, 2006 at 04:21 PM (#2238496)
No idea, I've seen conflicting reports, including one that says he becomes a FA in 5/08... now that's a pretty odd date- Japan's in the same hemisphere as us and their season is pretty much at the same time

Uh, Japan is in the Eastern Hemisphere.
   179. bibigon Posted: November 15, 2006 at 04:21 PM (#2238497)
The Red Sox' payroll is not a function of how much money they have. Their revenue has apparently gone up drastically in the last two seasons, with payroll going up only marginally in that time. What does determine their payroll? I'm pretty sure it's the luxury tax threshold. Since the luxury tax was introduced, the Red Sox have been within a few million of it every year. Their payroll moves in step with the luxury tax, which has been increasing slower than revenue has been increasing.

What does this mean? Functionally, that this $51.1M has no impact on their ability to sign players, since it is outside the luxury tax. Even though it's coming out of the same coffers as payroll ultimately, the payroll budget is the relevant one to player acquisition, and it is independent of how much they spend elsewhere. If Matsuzaka signs for $5/49.9M(just for ease of math) now, the Red Sox will have spent $100M over 5 years for Matsuzaka. However, as fans, the reason we care about money is that it constrains the ability of the team to sign other players. In Matsuzaka's case, because of the luxury tax issue, the impact that he has on their payroll would only be 5/49.9M in this case.

Is this pretty stupid? Yeah. Is this a legit grievance the player's union has against the owners? Absolutely. Of course, they're the ones who gave in to the luxury tax in the first place. But basically, because MLB has systematized a form of collusion here with the luxury tax, only the payroll part of the Matsuzaka acquisition "counts" for the Red Sox. While I'm beginning to believe that the posting fee will have significant marketing benefits(assuming Matsuzaka is a star - all bets are off if he's Irabu), that part is actually not even relevant for how this impacts the Red Sox on the field - it ultimately mainly determines how much profit the Red Sox bring in annually. Because they're bringing in so much more money than they're spending on payroll, and because they have shown no inclination to spend more than the luxury tax, the two actually act somewhat independently - which isn't what we'd expect from a free market. However, because we have an artificial ceiling on salaries, we don't have that free market.

To reiterate: From a player acquisition standpoint(which is what fans generally care about), Matsuzaka's impact is probably limited to his actual salary. This also goes in both directions - if he brings in $100M in marketing money, the Red Sox aren't going to be putting that $49.9M of excess into payroll either in all likelihood.
   180. TVerik, the gum-snappin' hairdresser Posted: November 15, 2006 at 04:22 PM (#2238498)
Heck, if the fanbase is willing to spend $46 to sit in a crappy ballpark a couple times a year, they'll be willing to spend another $3 a month for NESN.

No. That additional $3 per subscriber would make it by far the most expensive cable channel in the lineup, and any estimate of "every game watching" Red Sox fans in NESN areas is under 1/3. As a Yankee fan, I'd be furious if my cable bill went up $3 a month because John Henry wants to recoup the Matsuzaka money just because I live geographically close to Boston.
   181. PJ Martinez Posted: November 15, 2006 at 04:24 PM (#2238500)
"Uh, Japan is in the Eastern Hemisphere."

I think he meant Southern vs. Northern, since that's the relevant issue, seasonally speaking.
   182. JPWF13 Posted: November 15, 2006 at 04:25 PM (#2238501)
No idea, I've seen conflicting reports, including one that says he becomes a FA in 5/08... now that's a pretty odd date- Japan's in the same hemisphere as us and their season is pretty much at the same time

Uh, Japan is in the Eastern Hemisphere.


No such thing (geographically speaking- eastern/western hemispheres are political constructs)_- Japan, like us, is in the Northern Hemisphere- which means their seasons are when our season are- they have summer when we have summer, they have winter when we have winter
   183. Best Regards, President of Comfort, Esq. Posted: November 15, 2006 at 04:32 PM (#2238505)
I've seen a conflicting report that the Yankees actually have the second-highest bid. So Boston pretty much has to sign him, because risking him being assigned to the Yankees (which Seibu would probably insist on if Boston doesn't sign him) would be a total disaster.
   184. bibigon Posted: November 15, 2006 at 04:32 PM (#2238507)
No idea, I've seen conflicting reports, including one that says he becomes a FA in 5/08... now that's a pretty odd date- Japan's in the same hemisphere as us and their season is pretty much at the same time


The reason for the date is that he apparently signed his contract with Seibu at the end of April/start of May in 1999(he was 18 at the time, maybe because he needed to finish high school?). He reaches his service time requirements for free agency at that point. It's just that he joined Seibu a month into 1999, so he needs to go a month into 2008 to be free.
   185. bibigon Posted: November 15, 2006 at 04:35 PM (#2238509)

I've seen a conflicting report that the Yankees actually have the second-highest bid. So Boston pretty much has to sign him, because risking him being assigned to the Yankees (which Seibu would probably insist on if Boston doesn't sign him) would be a total disaster.


1. Where did you see that report?

2. Seibu wouldn't be able to insist. If the Red Sox offer a reasonable deal by Selig's standards, and Boras turns it down, then that's that. It doesn't go to the Yankees.
   186. billyshears Posted: November 15, 2006 at 04:41 PM (#2238517)
Where I disagree with you, Sam, (and I think it's just a matter of semantics), is that while, yes, the Red Sox payroll could conceivably exceed the "salary cap", by my understanding, this is going to be the ceiling on their payroll - that is, they will not exceed the ~$140 million figure in pure salary, even if they could financially do so (the Henry/Selig connection at work?).

Let's say Matsuzaka gets $11m/year, and Zito gets $15m/per. Yes, Matsuzaka cost more in real terms, but he will cost $4m less towards the payroll. That extra 4m under the Red Sox imposed salary ceiling (I won't use salary cap here, because, you're right, it's not a cap really at all) can be spent elsewhere.


I think the point is though, that doesn't mean Matsuzaka costs less than any other pitcher to which one would make a similar expenditure in pure salary - it's just that the structure of the payout to sign Matsuzaka allows them to spend more money without reaching the cap - money that wouldn't otherwise be spent.
   187. AROM Posted: November 15, 2006 at 04:43 PM (#2238520)
Here's how the 5/08 things works:

1. Red Sox lowball him (at this point Boras will probably consider 50/4 lowballing)
2. Dice-K goes back to Japan
3. Sits out spring training and early 2008
4. Becomes free agent. Boras talks about 8 years, 160 million as a starting point
5. Furious bidding
6. Signs with Yankees, 6/08
7. Makes his US debut for the Tampa Yankees, then one start each in AA and AAA
8. Starts the first game after the all star break for the Yankees
9. Loses game 5 of the ALDS to the Angels, giving up a 1st inning, 2 run homer to Vlad Guerrero after a walk to JD Drew.

Yes, walks are coming to Anaheim! What a cool concept.
   188. Sam M. Posted: November 15, 2006 at 04:43 PM (#2238522)
However, as fans, the reason we care about money is that it constrains the ability of the team to sign other players. In Matsuzaka's case, because of the luxury tax issue, the impact that he has on their payroll would only be 5/49.9M in this case. . . .

From a player acquisition standpoint(which is what fans generally care about), Matsuzaka's impact is probably limited to his actual salary.


I don't think there is any real reason to believe this is correct, other than from the very limited perspective that the Sox have apparently said that they will not exceed the luxury tax in their payroll, thus imposing on themselves an artificial, self-created "salary cap." I think this has given Red Sox fans a somewhat different perspective on this, causing them to put everything that doesn't count as "payroll" aside in a way fans of almost no other team would, and in way no economist would.

It is certainly true that the annualized cost of the posting fee does not count for the Sox as a payroll cost, and thus towards their luxury tax limit, and thus towards what they view as the highest point they will go on "payroll." It is not, in that sense, a "constraint" on their player acquisition -- if they are willing to go to $147M (or whatever the luxury tax tipping number is), then the 2007 share of $51M for Matsuzaka doesn't count towards that, and it doesn't count the way his actual salary will. For counting towards that number, if he makes $10M and Zito gest $15M, then Matsuzaka is less of a constraint.

But. There is another way in which the actual, real cost of acquiring Matsuzaka IS a constraint, and Red Sox fans shouldn't drink the Kool-Aid on this. If you think they will just not "count" the $51M they have to spend within a week of signing Matsuzaka when they consider how much they are spending on players, you are kidding yourself. The fact that they have to pay it all right now makes the cost even harder to swallow; no present value discounting for that amount.

So it's not a constraint on payroll in the sense Red Sox fans have gotten used to their FO talking about in the past -- "We won't exceed the luxury tax tipping point." But that doesn't mean the posting fee won't count on the cost side of the ledger when they tote up player acquisition costs. This is a brand new world, and a posting fee the likes of which we've never seen before. An outlay of that magnitude HAS to affect their ability to spend on other talent. Think of it this way: what would Red Sox fans think if the Sox had bid this much on Matsuzaka -- and lost out. Would you think it would be rational not to spend at least SOME of that money to acquire some other talent? If so, then you must agree that having spent it to gain the rights to acquire Matsuzaka, it has affected their ability to go after that alternative talent, which they will now NOT pursue.
   189. Best Regards, President of Comfort, Esq. Posted: November 15, 2006 at 04:45 PM (#2238523)
1. Where did you see that report?

I saw it on Wikipedia, which isn't a terribly reliable source -- but then there are zero FACTS about who bid second.

2. Seibu wouldn't be able to insist. If the Red Sox offer a reasonable deal by Selig's standards, and Boras turns it down, then that's that. It doesn't go to the Yankees.

Of course they can insist. Selig doesn't have to listen, but he does have discretion, and it would be horribly damaging to the MLB-Japanese Leagues relationship if the Japanese teams felt they were getting screwed over.

If I'm Boras, I'm explaining to Matsuzaka right now the Yankees-Red Sox dynamic, and that no matter when he's a free agent, even in May, they will be bidding through the roof against each other in 2008 to keep him away from the other team. I'd tell him that if he plays just one more season in Japan, I can guarantee him a $100 million contract. Unless Matsuzaka is desperate for money right now, or doesn't trust his arm to hold up one more year, I don't think Boston can sign him -- or the Yankees for that matter.
   190. Digit Posted: November 15, 2006 at 04:46 PM (#2238525)
The 51 million dollars isn't -for- Matsuzaka at all. It's for the Seibu Lions for the -rights- to Matsuzaka.

The bid does five things for Boston:

1) It's payment for the Seibu Lions for allowing Matsuzaka to come to the United States -before- he's eligible as a free agent.

2) It allows Boston exclusive rights to negotiate with Matsuzaka without dragging other teams (read, the Yankees) into the negotiating process. Thus, Boras can't come up with a 'Another team is offering six years 90 millions, how about it?' mythical bid and force the Sox to bid against themselves.

3) It gives Boston a foothold into the Japanese market. They think the Asian Market hasn't been developed/mined as well as the Dominician republic. They want to open a couple of academies in the Far East, and having a big name Asian star would go a long way towards drawing young people there.

4) It -doesn't- count towards the luxury limit. Boston's movements seem to trend towards staying -around- that limit-. Getting Matsuzaka isn't adding 100 million towards the payroll. It's adding his -salary- towards the limit. The Sox may be perfectly willing to pay a lot more money, but they seem to have a self-imposed spending limit on -payroll- and not on -players expenditures-. And yes, there's a distinction - the payroll counts towards the luxury cap, players expenditures can be a lot more than just payroll. So this means the Sox not only obtain an ace-caliber pitcher for roughly the same money they would have spent regardless, but Matsuzaka would count -less- towards the luxury limit than another ace-caliber pitcher. (Not to mention, I don't think there's another ace-caliber level pitcher on the market.) Because they haven't completely chewed up their luxury tax in signing a Matsuzaka-caliber pitcher, this leaves them -more- room to acquire other players under the luxury tax limit (JD Drew rumors seems to fit into this).

5) They're investing in a -young- player (26) who happens to be that rarest of free agent commodity, an ace-level pitcher, and not someone on the wrong side of 30. The Sox haven't shown any disinclination to not pay young players- most of their reluctance to shell out money seems to be to not give out long-term big money contracts (or obtain them) to players over the age of 33 who seem to be big health risks or on a serious decline. They may have misjudged whether the players -were- on a serious decline, but the philosophy seems to to give long-terms deals towards the young players, not lack of willingness to spend. Their philosophy tends to be to look down the road, not -just- to concentrate on immediate short-term benefits.

There's some possibility that the Red Sox may work out some sort of agreement with the Seibu Lions on cross-promotions, etc. But I think the above are larger factors than anything.

The only factor in the above that would play into Matsuzaka's contract is this:
He's an ace-level pitcher.
Everything else? He wasn't going to be a free agent for more than a year, so that money is nothing he will see if he waits till next year He'd be left with three million (his contract in Japan) and a lack of security. He could claim some of that 51 million, true, but it's not likely he'd get the -full- 'salary plus posting fee' contract, because then it factors into the luxury tax limit. The Yankees would win the bidding, likely, but it almost certainly wouldn't be 'salary plus posting bid'.

What Daisuke gets from this: He gets to come out a bit more than a year earlier than he would. For that, he probably has to expect to forfeit some money in return for longer term security.

Although I would not at all be surprised if Boras tries to make the same reasoning about total player expenditures, I think the Red Sox would counter that the payment was for exclusive rights, allowing Daisuke to leave early, and that Daisuke hasn't pitched in the majors yet.

I think it gets done. There's too many benefits for the Red Sox (yes, there's a huge amount of risk too) to not get it done.
   191. bibigon Posted: November 15, 2006 at 04:54 PM (#2238534)
This is a brand new world, and a posting fee the likes of which we've never seen before. An outlay of that magnitude HAS to affect their ability to spend on other talent.


I just don't see this as being the case. The only way for this to be the case is:

1. You think the Red Sox were otherwise going to spend over the luxury tax limit this year.
2. You think the Red Sox are now going to spend under the luxury tax limit.

If the Red Sox are actually going to keep to the luxury tax, and were going to do so regardless(both of which seem likely to me) then I just don't see any mechanism for an outlay of this size of affect their ability to spend elsewhere. You have not yet proposed one either.

Think of it this way: what would Red Sox fans think if the Sox had bid this much on Matsuzaka -- and lost out. Would you think it would be rational not to spend at least SOME of that money to acquire some other talent? If so, then you must agree that having spent it to gain the rights to acquire Matsuzaka, it has affected their ability to go after that alternative talent, which they will now NOT pursue.


I think you're way off here Sam. If the Red Sox had bid this much and lost out, we'd hear the same old song and dance that we heard about Clemens - the Red Sox apparently had a "special" budget for him set aside, which they didn't use to acquire Abreu for instance at the deadline, much to the consternation of many fans. The Red Sox have been nothing if not willing to piss off fans with their perceived cheapness.

To answer your question, if the Red Sox had bid this much on Matsuzaka and lost, I think they would have ended up spending approximately to the luxury tax limit, and not beyond.
   192. Dizzypaco Posted: November 15, 2006 at 04:55 PM (#2238535)
Of course they can insist. Selig doesn't have to listen, but he does have discretion, and it would be horribly damaging to the MLB-Japanese Leagues relationship if the Japanese teams felt they were getting screwed over.

There is virtually no chance at all that any team other than the Red Sox will end up with Daisuke, unless he goes back to Japan. The Red Sox are just about guaranteed to make what Bud Selig would consider a reasonable offer - whether it is accepted or turned down is another matter. The idea that Bud Selig may turn to the Red Sox and say, "you didn't offer enough - I'm going to award the rights to the Yankees" is frankly laughable.

I'm fully expecting salaries to explode this off season - there is lots of money to spend, and almost no one to spend it on. This was likely a major consideration in the Red Sox thinking. I don't think you can use past salaries as a good judge for what the Sox should have bid.
   193. Sam M. Posted: November 15, 2006 at 05:06 PM (#2238546)
2. You think the Red Sox are now going to spend under the luxury tax limit.

Yes, that is what I expect. In fact, I would predict that the Red Sox will spend on "payroll" roughly an amount under the trigger point that equates to the pro-rated share of the $51M posting fee. Minus some figure that reflects their calculation of the added revenues they believe he will bring in. Something like:

$51M/ 4 year contract = $13M/year under the luxury tax limit to start

Sox project Matsuzake adds $5M/year in revenues via marketing

$13M - $5 = $8M

The Red Sox would budget themselves to be $8M under the luxury tax, rather than right at it, to compensate for the added cost of the bid minus the revenue offset. Roughly, mind you -- they don't have to get exactly each season's share each year. Maybe this year they go right to the luxury tax point for marketing reasons, to try to have a huge year and get a big first-year kick. But over the life of the deal, I think that's the way they'd account for it. Of course, the numbers totally depend on the length of the deal, and the marketing revenue projections. But you get the idea.
   194. CFiJ Posted: November 15, 2006 at 05:06 PM (#2238547)
No idea, I've seen conflicting reports, including one that says he becomes a FA in 5/08... now that's a pretty odd date- Japan's in the same hemisphere as us and their season is pretty much at the same time

The reason for the date is that he apparently signed his contract with Seibu at the end of April/start of May in 1999(he was 18 at the time, maybe because he needed to finish high school?). He reaches his service time requirements for free agency at that point. It's just that he joined Seibu a month into 1999, so he needs to go a month into 2008 to be free.


The Japanese school year ends in March. Matsuzaka graduated and went right to spring camp.

The free agent clock is 9 seasons of 145 days on the active roster. Matsuzaka signed before the 1999 season, so he should be a clear free agent after the 2007 season. However, it appears that when he was injured in 2002 he was taken off the active roster for part of the season. So he would have to make those days up in 2008, hence the May date.
   195. villageidiom Posted: November 15, 2006 at 05:06 PM (#2238548)
Most of the ways that a local fanbase pay into a franchise are considered league revenues, and split equally, when they come from Japan.

Absolutely true. But we all need to keep in mind one thing: NESN and the Red Sox are separate entities. While the $51 million is coming out of the pockets of the Red Sox, the corresponding benefit is, for all intents and purposes, going to NESN. Since the separate entities have common ownership, the owners don't care about the accounting on it. (Well, they do, since NESN revenues aren't part of revenue sharing... but you get the idea.)

IIRC when NESN was added to basic cable in CT several years back, the subscriber fee being bandied about was $2. IIRC that was similar to the subscriber fee Mr. Dolan balked at when YES wanted to go to basic cable in NYC. So, $2 per subscriber seems like a decent place to start.

Japan has a population of around 127 million, with roughly 3.4 people per household. That means there are roughly 37 million households. Currently there are roughly 4 million subscribers to the only remaining satellite TV provider in Japan. There were also around 26 million cable TV subscribers as of 2004, and while that's trending upward let's just assume the same number holds today. That's 30 million households where NESN could go, but is likely unavailable currently.

For those keeping score, 30 million out of 37 million, or 81%, of Japan is the potential "instant" market for NESN. Should every cable/satellite provider in Japan decide to make NESN available in their basic package - assuming they have a basic package - at $2 a pop that's $60 million per year of revenue right off the top. Before advertising revenue. As you can imagine, they need only a fraction of that for this deal to make sense to the owners of the Red Sox and NESN. It still makes no sense to the Red Sox.

You might ask, well, if it's such a big gain, why didn't the Yankees outbid? Simply put, the Yankees have already gone down this path thanks to Matsui. YES won't get the marginal gains from this deal that NESN would.
   196. JPWF13 Posted: November 15, 2006 at 05:08 PM (#2238549)
If I'm Boras, I'm explaining to Matsuzaka right now the Yankees-Red Sox dynamic, and that no matter when he's a free agent, even in May, they will be bidding through the roof against each other in 2008 to keep him away from the other team. I'd tell him that if he plays just one more season in Japan, I can guarantee him a $100 million contract. Unless Matsuzaka is desperate for money right now, or doesn't trust his arm to hold up one more year, I don't think Boston can sign him -- or the Yankees for that matter.


If it was solely up to Boras then I think there's approximately zero chance of him signing, but it's not solely up to Boras, DM may feel that pitching in the MLB is important enough to give up a couple million- some guys are like that, any $ past certain a point becomes meaningless - some guys see every penny as holy.

Personally I think the odds are against him signing- but I'm starting to think it's possible- but those who think there's zero chance he doesn't sign are kidding themselves. Does any one really think that Boston is going to tell Boras that the $51mm doesn't represent a part of DM's fair market value? Let's say they offer 50/4, Boras will immediately think (and say) my guy is worth 100/4. If Boston says no, he's worth 50/4, that other 50mm is just what we had to pay for exclusive negotiating rights... Boras either laughs at them, walks out the door or both.

Boras is going to figure that Boston's top offer PLUS the posting fee is a fair approximation of DM's fair market value (hell he may think it's a little low- Boston doesn't have to worry about any other bidders right now) He will take that fair market value, and figure out what the present value of what such a deal signed in May 2008 is. I'm guessing that means that Boras is going to demand at least $5mm A YEAR than Boston's highest offer and he won't budge- and even if DM is desperate to pitch in the MLB and willing to take Boston's offer he won't sign until the afternoon of the 30th day.
   197. Famous Original Joe C Posted: November 15, 2006 at 05:10 PM (#2238551)
If so, then you must agree that having spent it to gain the rights to acquire Matsuzaka, it has affected their ability to go after that alternative talent, which they will now NOT pursue.

Well, Sam, we'll just have to agree to disagree about the extent to which this affects the Red Sox ability to sign other players. I would argue that they still have plenty of money for whoever else they would reasonably like to sign this offseason (e.g. J.D. Drew).

Bottom line, given that the Red Sox will spend up to the luxury tax threshold, the Red Sox will likely have more room by signing Matsuzaka than they would by signing a Zito or Schmidt.

If they make no other significant signings this offseason, and start 2007 with a ~120 million dollar payroll, then I will grant that you were correct about this point - however, I would wager that number will be significantly closer to the threshold than it will be to last year's payroll, if not just under it.
   198. villageidiom Posted: November 15, 2006 at 05:12 PM (#2238556)
Oh, I forgot to add, though it's not obvious to all, that NESN revenues are not shared among the teams in the league.
   199. Francoeur Sans Gages (AlouGoodbye) Posted: November 15, 2006 at 05:19 PM (#2238566)
Here's the thing, though, villageidiom - why will people pick up NESN when the content that people really want to see is the actual games. And NESN can't screen them in Japan because the international broadcast rights go with MLB International and are split 30 ways. Maybe NESN can produce some programming to sell to Japanese TV stations - game recaps, Red Sox news updates, "At home with Dice-K," whatever else, but 1) this has limited value 2) the Sox aren't the only ones who can produce this kind of programming, any Japanese TV station sending reporters to the area can also do this.
   200. robinred Posted: November 15, 2006 at 05:23 PM (#2238572)
WRT the luxury tax, as I and others have said, the Red Sox will always stay under or near the line because of their relationship with Selig. When they went over the line a couple of years ago, Henry apologized publicly and endorsed Selig's policies. One reason they bid sky-high for Matsuzaka is because the posting fee doesn't not count against that figure, so the outlay does not affect their rhetorical and political stance. I have never believed that the Red Sox did not have the money to significantly jack up their MLB player acquisition budget, and I am more convinced of that now.

As far as how it affects their ability to acquire other talent, I assume that it will not, not because of spin-doctoring the fact that the 51M does not count against the cap, but simply because they expect that all the marginal benefits, on-field and off, will justify the expenditure.

As to whether he signs, I have noticed that most Red Sox fans are saying "it will get done" and most Yankee fans expressing doubt. I would say he would sign quickly, if his agent were someone other than Boras. With Boras involved, however, I think a scenario where Matsuzaka goes back to Japan with some type of huge insurnce pacakge Boras sets up in case Matsuzaka's arm blows up. If I had to bet, I would bet he signs.
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