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   1. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: November 13, 2006 at 09:50 PM (#2236742)
Awright, love to have Gammons back, love to have another good independent report of hte Red Sox having the high bid for Matsuzaka. I guess there's some chance still that Seibu rejects the bid, but, jeez, hard to imagine. (Though wouldn't the Millar acrimony be seen in a different light then...)

I tend to think, in the case of a JD Drew signing, that all three outfielders could be on the trading block, but that the Red Sox would be happy going into spring with Crisp and Wily Mo in part-time roles. That is, both Manny and Drew would need regular rest to keep them healthy, and someone of those four guys will get injured during the season - so why not just go into 2007 with the best fourth outfielder in baseball. I think Wily Mo would be able to handle that and not go crazy over being slighted. (I would think that Crisp would be the official starting CF, but he'd get pretty regular days off.)

I'll also say my critiques of the Sox front office recently have been predicated, effectively, on the assumption that a Matsuzaka + Drew offseason is the standard by which big market teams should be judged. It would be a greeat, great offseason. I'm holding my breath, but I'm about 80 times more optimistic about '07 than I was in October.
   2. Kyle S Posted: November 13, 2006 at 10:02 PM (#2236760)
Amen, MCoA. Drew + Daisuke would be a fantastic outcome for the sox. I just want to see Matsuzaka pitch in MLB, and I knew it wouldn't be for my team, so I hope all the silly conspiracy theories about "bidding to keep out the Yankees" were overblown.
   3. PJ Martinez Posted: November 13, 2006 at 10:08 PM (#2236770)
"I tend to think, in the case of a JD Drew signing, that all three outfielders could be on the trading block, but that the Red Sox would be happy going into spring with Crisp and Wily Mo in part-time roles."

I agree. The Sox would then be in a position of strength: if the right deal came along, I'm sure they'd pounce, but Wily Mo seems fairly easygoing, and with the injury histories of those four, it's likely there'd be playing time for all anyway.

Are there any logical platoons for that foursome?

I agree that Drew and Matsuzaka would be great, and a reasonable expectation given the revenue streams the Sox generate.

Very Omar Minaya, isn't it? Spend tons of cash to sign the very best players? Seems straightforward enough, except the Sox haven't done it lately.

Speaking of the Mets, someone on SoSH claimed that the Mets bid 38m, just behind the 42 of the Sox. Anyone seen/heard that anywhere else?
   4. Dave Cyprian Posted: November 13, 2006 at 10:09 PM (#2236772)
Matsuzaka + Drew = Renewed confidence. Just the fact that John Henry is gift-wrapping $40 million in cash for the team is pretty sweet.

I can't believe the Yanks traded Jaret Wright to the O's along with 4 million bucks. He wasn't that bad was he? Thats the type of deal we need to get in on, although I realize that this particular trade was probably not an option given the teams rivalry.
   5. Dave Cyprian Posted: November 13, 2006 at 10:16 PM (#2236784)
#3 - It is a little Omar Minaya-esque, signing big $$$ players. But I think the difference is the Sox are attempting to be heavily committed to several cheap players too (Youks, Lester, Pedroia, Wily Mo) as well, which should free up salaries for truly fantastic free agents.

You might describe it as a bargain basement + premium penthouse strategy, as opposed to a Patriot-style (or even.. Tiger-style?) commitment to an army of many mid-priced, quality regulars.
   6. ellsbury my heart at wounded knee Posted: November 13, 2006 at 10:17 PM (#2236785)
I agree Drew and D-Mat would be great, but that still leaves 2B and SS. Would people be happy going into the season with Pedroia and someone like Tony Graffinino at 2B? With Alex Gonzalez at SS for 3/$20m? Drew and Matsuzaka would be awesome upgrades, no doubt, but it still leaves the Red Sox with some potential glaring weaknesses up the middle, and not a lot of obvious options. The Red Sox may be need to get busy with trades again this offseason.
   7. Dave Cyprian Posted: November 13, 2006 at 10:20 PM (#2236792)
I doubt A-Gon is going to be getting a 3 year deal.
   8. PJ Martinez Posted: November 13, 2006 at 10:21 PM (#2236794)
"I think the difference is the Sox are attempting to be heavily committed to several cheap players too (Youks, Lester, Pedroia, Wily Mo) as well, which should free up salaries for truly fantastic free agents."

Well, Omar offsets Pedro, Beltran, and Delgado with Wright, Reyes and, say, Heilman.

I wasn't knocking the strategy by comparing it to Omar. In fact, I think Minaya is not nearly as bad as many around here seem to think (or at least once thought). He did a terrible job with a very difficult situation in Montreal, and has done a very good job with a much easier situation in New York.
   9. Toby Posted: November 13, 2006 at 10:25 PM (#2236803)
does Hinske have any role in the outfield mix, or is he strictly a 1b/dh guy now, do you think?
   10. PJ Martinez Posted: November 13, 2006 at 10:26 PM (#2236804)
"The Red Sox may be need to get busy with trades again this offseason."

Perhaps. But I hope the strategy is: sign Matsuzaka and Drew first, then, having bolstered the roster considerably, look into possible 5-way blockbusters that lead to a more balanced roster. Or whatever. But they need to strengthen the roster considerably first, and that's going to cost big bucks.
   11. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: November 13, 2006 at 10:28 PM (#2236809)
Would people be happy going into the season with Pedroia and someone like Tony Graffinino at 2B?
Yes.
With Alex Gonzalez at SS for 3/$20m?
Yes, but I think he'll be cheaper than that. Gonzalez has a bizarrely low profile among the world's good shortstops.

I don't see what wrong with averagish contributions up the middle. Averagish wins games. Averagish and cheap is what allows you to buy the Drews and Matsuzakas of the world. The Red Sox should focus on (a) starting pitching, (b) relief pitching, (c) outfield defense and (q) everything else.
   12. PJ Martinez Posted: November 13, 2006 at 10:28 PM (#2236810)
"does Hinske have any role in the outfield mix, or is he strictly a 1b/dh guy now, do you think?"

I like the idea of Hinske and Cora together covering all the positions on the diamond, save catcher. Can Cora play an emergency CF?
   13. Dave Cyprian Posted: November 13, 2006 at 10:29 PM (#2236811)
PJ: True but if I recall correctly Minaya inherited all three players you mentioned. He also signed two of them to gigantic contracts that may look good in the end, but IMHO he pulled the trigger quickly. Cairo and Valentin might be considered bargain pickups by Minaya, but I guess I was implying maybe we would have better bargains than that.
   14. Dr. Vaux Posted: November 13, 2006 at 10:30 PM (#2236812)
That's right, rather than spend the whole off-season looking for 5-way blockbusters and wind up as an 86-win team (which was really a 92-ish win team without all the injuries, and with Beckett not pulling the bait and switch...)
   15. Russlan is fond of Dillon Gee Posted: November 13, 2006 at 10:41 PM (#2236824)
Are the Sox going to do anything about the infield? For a team that's been an offensive powerhouse in recent years, an infield of Lowell, Pedroia, Youkilis, Gonzalez, and Varitek isn't that scary from the other team's perspective.
   16. ellsbury my heart at wounded knee Posted: November 13, 2006 at 10:44 PM (#2236827)
I guess I can easily imagine a scenario in which Pedroia/filler are below average, Alex Gonzalez' defense begins to go and starts to hurt, and what we saw from Varitek last year is a sign of things to come.

Not to rain on the awesomeness of a possible Drew/Matsuzaka parade, because that would be totally sweet, but I'm not totally sold on the awesomeness of the infield.
   17. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: November 13, 2006 at 10:49 PM (#2236830)
Are the Sox going to do anything about the infield? For a team that's been an offensive powerhouse in recent years, an infield of Lowell, Pedroia, Youkilis, Gonzalez, and Varitek isn't that scary from the other team's perspective.
The Red Sox happen to have most of their offensive power in DH and OF. They've got a good offense, and looking at only C + IF while ignoring DH + OF effectively obfuscates that.

All those five guys should be solidly average next year, and Lowell can probably be counted on for another 10 runs above average. Average is good. Great is better, but you can only buy so much of that.
   18. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: November 13, 2006 at 10:54 PM (#2236835)
I guess I can easily imagine a scenario in which Pedroia/filler are below average, Alex Gonzalez' defense begins to go and starts to hurt, and what we saw from Varitek last year is a sign of things to come.
So, the Red Sox should be prepared for all three of these players to be bad? Really, if all three are bad, then the Red Sox won't do very well. This insight is generalizable to every single team in baseball, over the history of baseball. Make three pretty good players really bad, and the team loses a bunch more games.

If your argument is that Gonzalez, Pedroia and Varitek aren't pretty good, averagish players, then I disagree with you and I've got a lot of data to back it up.
   19. Raskolnikov Posted: November 13, 2006 at 10:55 PM (#2236837)
Very nice pickup. D-Mat/Schilling/Papelbon/Beckett(who should bounce back)/Wakefield is a pretty devastating rotation. It certainly trumps whatever the Yankees will be able to put together by the spring. And if Lester can come back soon ... wow.

This strikes me as a strikeout/fly ball rotation. In that case, perhaps Lowell and Gonzalez are not such great fits, although Lowell seems to benefit from the Monster. If Theo can get a big 1B bat, I think the route to go is to move Youk back to 3B. Lugo at SS makes a lot of sense, but that would be an insane amount of spending by the Bosox in one offseason.
   20. PJ Martinez Posted: November 13, 2006 at 11:03 PM (#2236847)
"This strikes me as a strikeout/fly ball rotation."

I had this thought last year, but, if I remember correctly, the numbers didn't back me up. You're certainly right that if the Sox aren't getting many groundballs, they're rather poorly constructed: all-hit no-field OF, all-field no-hit IF (I'm exaggerating obviously, but still).
   21. Russlan is fond of Dillon Gee Posted: November 13, 2006 at 11:05 PM (#2236851)
The Red Sox happen to have most of their offensive power in DH and OF. They've got a good offense,and looking at only C + IF while ignoring DH + OF effectively obfuscates that.

Any offense with Manny and Ortiz is going to hold its own but I guess the Red Sox might not be counting on being as great offensively as they had been in 2004 and 2005. They don't have to be to win but it is something I thought they might consider.
   22. Hungry Hungry Hipolito Pichardo Posted: November 13, 2006 at 11:10 PM (#2236860)
Are there any logical platoons for that foursome?

MCA hit it on the head in #1 -- each of those OFers should get regular time of to stay healthy and fresh. Drew would get his rest against tough lefties, Coco more regularly, and Manny occasionally, barring injury. And plus, it's insurance against the possibility of Coco's problems not being just the finger injury (or that the injury lingers for some reason).

Rask - as much as it would be great to move Youk to 3B, but there doesn't seem to be much of a fit in this year's 1B market. Perhaps another year of Youk at first, then find someone from the 2007 FA class.

Or maybe Lars Anderson is ready then, if you're an optimist.
   23. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: November 13, 2006 at 11:16 PM (#2236876)
Any offense with Manny and Ortiz is going to hold its own but I guess the Red Sox might not be counting on being as great offensively as they had been in 2004 and 2005.
I agree that the Sox look like a good offensive team, rather than a juggernaut. They'll be counting on a more balanced attack in 2007, with big investments in starting pitching.

It makes sense to me, because the hardest thing to do in baseball is to upgrade from average. Every tick above average costs many millions. It's hard to get your money's worth when you've already got averagish players - the only way is to sign true stars, and there aren't any infielders of that caliber available this offseason.

On the other hand, it's very easy to upgrade from replacement level, and you maximize your upgrade if you go from replacement level to a star. That's what the Red Sox are trying to do with hte pitching staff, and I think it's absolutely the right way to go. They are focusing on the areas of the team where the investment can pay off the best.
   24. Dr. Vaux Posted: November 13, 2006 at 11:21 PM (#2236881)
That makes a lot of sense, actually. It also, strangely enough, corresponds with the CW that the place to overspend is pitching. I think that's true, because outstanding pitching and an average offense will probably put you in good shape, and average offense is easy to put together for cheap if you know where to find it. OTOH, an outstanding offense is easier to put together period, and pitching is so hit-or-miss that your overpriced "outstanding" pitching staff might wind up average or worse anyway. So it really does depend on where the team is at the moment and who's available at the moment, doesn't it?
   25. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: November 13, 2006 at 11:23 PM (#2236886)
The real issue this team needs to address is the bullpen. The infield is pretty good. The bullpen is currently very bad. They need either (a) a new closer or (b) Papelbon's return, and (b) would mean the Sox need a new starting pitcher. With the (reported) acquisition of Matsuzaka, I lean back toward wanting Li'l Papi in the pen as the lights-out closer again. Then the Sox just need to be in on Lilly or someone, maybe Kei Igawa, to fill out the pitching staff.
   26. Darren Posted: November 13, 2006 at 11:30 PM (#2236895)
I think it was CFIJ (but that could be wrong), but someone has to take a bow. Someone has been saying from the beginning "the winning bid will be $42 million," which I thought was kind of nuts. Amazing prediction, come get your credit.
   27. Russlan is fond of Dillon Gee Posted: November 13, 2006 at 11:32 PM (#2236902)
One deal that is looking a lot better today than it did when it was signed was Beckett's extension.
   28. Darren Posted: November 13, 2006 at 11:40 PM (#2236911)
Hey, here's negativity (even though I'm feeling pretty good). They decline Damon for 4/50-something and will now pay Drew that, despite his fragility. They trade Arroyo for Wily Mo and now Wily Mo is a 4th OF? Either they change their mind quickly on players, or they've made some terrible decisions, or we don't yet understand their plans.

And I still think Manny is going bye bye.
   29. Honkie Kong Posted: November 14, 2006 at 12:01 AM (#2236930)
And I still think Manny is going bye bye.

If the FA market is really as bonkers as people ar predicting it to be, isn't the Manny contract now reasonable value?
If Aramis is worth $15 mil, Manny is surely worth 17-20..
   30. The Clarence Thomas of BBTF (scott) Posted: November 14, 2006 at 01:14 AM (#2236993)
if Aramis is worth 70m+ over 5, Manny is certainly worth 3/60. heck, that'd be a bargin!
   31. IronChef Chris Wok Posted: November 14, 2006 at 01:29 AM (#2237014)
Rich Aur... WHAT????

FRAK THIS
   32. Darren Posted: November 14, 2006 at 01:33 AM (#2237022)
Manny's signed for ~2/35. That's sort of a decent deal now, but I'd still rather have Drew and the schwag for Manny.
   33. Raskolnikov Posted: November 14, 2006 at 01:36 AM (#2237026)
Manny's signed for ~2/35. That's sort of a decent deal now, but I'd still rather have Drew and the schwag for Manny.

Forget that, why not have both? Manny/Drew/Pena (+ Crisp as backup) makes the most sense to me.
   34. IronChef Chris Wok Posted: November 14, 2006 at 01:40 AM (#2237031)
I kind of like having Iwamura, Cora, AND Hinske around. They can really all start on my teams, and I think they're incredible assets off the bench.
   35. Darren Posted: November 14, 2006 at 02:35 AM (#2237083)
I kind of like having Iwamura, Cora, AND Hinske around. They can really all start on my teams, and I think they're incredible assets off the bench.

How about instead of those guys, you use their $12 mil in salary to sign two good relievers? I like depth as much as the next guy, but these are some expensive bench players.

Coco as a bench player doesn't make sense to me either. He's an above average player in his prime. He should be starting. If anyone's going to be the 4th OF, I'd say it's Pena. But as has been mentioned, all of these guys have spotty health records, so a a 4-man rotation could work too.
   36. Darren Posted: November 14, 2006 at 02:41 AM (#2237087)
By the way. Great news! I just found this translation of a Japanese article on Matsuzaka to the Red Sox rumors:

The Seibu Lions are thinking to come agreement with Red Shoes Boston of American Depth. The team has said to reporter in town, that many days no business come to my hut, but Matsuzaka has fear? A thousand times no. He never doubted himself for a minute for he knew that his monkey strong bowels were girded with strength like the loins of a dragon ribboned with fat and the opulence of buffalo dung. Glorious sunset of his heart was fading. Soon the super karate monkey death car would park in my space. But Matsuzaka has fancy plans and pants to match. The monkey clown horrible karate round and yummy like cute small baby chick would beat the donkey. Donkey donkey donkey. And Mike Crudale.
   37. The Piehole of David Wells Posted: November 14, 2006 at 03:01 AM (#2237104)
i love how we went from "reportedly won the right to bid" directly to drew+matsuzaka anchoring a new 2007 team. i seem to recall something about a cart and horses, but i forget how it goes because i'm drunk with optimism!

for the bullpen: i think we should get f-rod, b.j. ryan, jenks, and some other unattainable closer from japan.
   38. chris p Posted: November 14, 2006 at 03:24 AM (#2237119)
i love how we went from "reportedly won the right to bid" directly to drew+matsuzaka anchoring a new 2007 team.

me, too. looks like a good team!
   39. IronChef Chris Wok Posted: November 14, 2006 at 03:39 AM (#2237138)
some other unattainable closer from japan.


WATANABE!!!!

How about instead of those guys, you use their $12 mil in salary to sign two good relievers? I like depth as much as the
next guy, but these are some expensive bench players.


Those guys will not add up to 12 mil. The only reason they'll come close to 12 is because Hinske has a stupid contract.
   40. Darren Posted: November 14, 2006 at 03:59 AM (#2237152)
Those guys will not add up to 12 mil. The only reason they'll come close to 12 is because Hinske has a stupid contract.

Aren't the Sox paying Hinske $3 mil and wouldn't you expect to pay Cora $2 mil? The rumors on Iwamura are that he'll cost $5-10 mil for posting and $5-8 mil or so annually. Conservatively, that's around $12 mil altogether.
   41. IronChef Chris Wok Posted: November 14, 2006 at 04:29 AM (#2237175)
Apparently, the Iwamura bids have been really, really low.
   42. PJ Martinez Posted: November 14, 2006 at 04:31 AM (#2237179)
"One deal that is looking a lot better today than it did when it was signed was Beckett's extension."

Good point. Almost forgot about that.

Although, actually, that contract looked great the day it was signed, if I remember correctly. It was only by the end of the season that one might have had serious doubts.

But really, if he stays healthy (fingers crossed, obviously), he doesn't have to be much better than he was to earn that contract. Not in this market.
   43. Darren Posted: November 14, 2006 at 04:38 AM (#2237187)
Eh, it looked good on the day it was signed, probably because he pitched against KC that day. He had already given up a bajillion HR at that point, though. Does anyone know what the story was with Francona leaving him in to take an absolute pounding in his last start? How did he allow Beckett to give up 6 runs in the 7th of that game?
   44. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: November 14, 2006 at 04:47 AM (#2237193)
Which $6M relievers? The best reliever on the market that I can see is Justin Speier. Despite the fact that he stole his name gimmick from one of the more mediocre pro wrestlers of recent vintage, he looks pretty good. But I doubt he's gonna require $6M, and even if he does, who's the second guy? And as the Sox stand now - around $110 for the luxury tax counting Matsuzaka - do they really need to cut $18M just to field a team? I don't see it.
   45. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: November 14, 2006 at 04:51 AM (#2237197)
Oh, whoops, I missed that those were two separate comments. Iwamura doesn't really make sense for the Red Sox, as far as I can see. (Unless of course they think he's really, really good, better than his stats.) I still don't see why the Sox would be moving Manny - the Sox don't need the money, and they do need to make the playoffs next year. If we get ponies, I'll take 'em, but I don't think it's a good bet to expect them.
   46. Darren Posted: November 14, 2006 at 04:52 AM (#2237201)
I'm not sure what you mean about cutting $18 mil.

But on the reliever point, the Speiers of the world got around 3/12 last year. Assuming charitably that that remains the same, they could sign/trade for another reliever for 8 mil/year. This could be Gagne, Dotel, Lidge, etc. That may not even be enough.

The larger point, of course, is that these are some pretty expensive bench players. In Cora's case, it's pretty defensible. In the case of Iwamura/Hinske, it's tough to see the need.
   47. Darren Posted: November 14, 2006 at 04:53 AM (#2237205)
If we get ponies, I'll take 'em, but I don't think it's a good bet to expect them.

MC, you're a good guy. Did you ever consider that maybe you deserved a pony? Maybe you SHOULD be expecting one. If not you, then who?
   48. Darren Posted: November 14, 2006 at 04:55 AM (#2237207)
Also, do you think the posting fee will, won't, or will partially count toward the Red Sox payroll (in their own minds)? I'm guessing it will at least count partially to them.
   49. Kyle S Posted: November 14, 2006 at 05:00 AM (#2237212)
that's because he's really, really short. :)

(kidding. but i'd temper my enthusiasm if i were you, icaagw)
   50. Darren Posted: November 14, 2006 at 05:05 AM (#2237213)
Okay, now I've got it. Houston will strike out in their attempts to land a slugger, prompting them to trade Lidge, Everett, Pence, and Koby Clemens for Manny. Yay!
   51. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: November 14, 2006 at 05:05 AM (#2237214)
I got all the ponies I could ask for already this offseason.

It will be interesting to see where the payroll goes. My guess is that the Sox will try to budget the payout as a multi-year expense, so it only comes out to ~$10M per year, and then some X% of that is theoretically recouped through business stuff involving Japan and whatnot. That only leaves the Sox with several million cut out of the payroll budget this year, so I'm not sure to what degree we'd notice it.
   52. Darren Posted: November 14, 2006 at 05:07 AM (#2237215)
Yes, those were good ponies. See, I told you that you deserved them. We fell one pony short here in CT, but it was still pretty good.
   53. Kyle S Posted: November 14, 2006 at 05:21 AM (#2237222)
is getting koby clemens good because it makes rog want to pitch for the sox?
   54. IronChef Chris Wok Posted: November 14, 2006 at 05:39 AM (#2237233)
I like Justin Speier because he has a funky delivery.

We should get as many pitchers with exotic deliveries as possible.
   55. JB H Posted: November 14, 2006 at 06:08 AM (#2237247)
Do the advanced defense metrics still say Drew is a super-duper star?
   56. Josh Posted: November 14, 2006 at 03:10 PM (#2237407)
We should just find as many ways as possible to use the word "exotic".
   57. OlePerfesser Posted: November 14, 2006 at 04:46 PM (#2237486)
I'm dubious that Matsuzaka gets signed in the next 30 days.

Mr. Henry's willingness to open his wallet for a huge posting fee (though reportedly $34-$38M, rather than Gammo's $42M figure) is encouraging, but imagine how Mr. Boras sees it: "That's $34-$38M going to Seibu that should be going to my client. If I wait a year, and he's a true FA, we get all of it." Wouldn't it be rational to forego a few million in '07 in exchange for that posting fee?

From the Sox' standpoint, there's some ceiling on Matsuzaka's value; the posting fee to Seibu gets deducted from that in making an offer. Let's be optimistic and say Matsuzaka is a clone of Clemens, who has averaged 7.5 WARP1 over the last 6 years. By MORP, that's worth a little over $16M/yr. Allow for inflation and call it $17M.

So if "Rocket II" Matsuzaka was a true FA, you might be willing to go 6 years, $102M. But the posting fee gets in the way, limiting your offer to him to 6/$60M on up to 6/$68M (depending on whose reported posting fee you believe). Would that get it done?

A 3-year deal (on the assumption Boras wants his man free sooner) has a maximum value of $51M. Deduct the posting fee and you're talking 3/$9M to 3/$17M. Boras would laugh in your face.

Bottom line: rational behavior on either side might stand in the way of getting a deal done. Are we hoping Mr. Henry will be irrational?
   58. Josh Posted: November 14, 2006 at 04:56 PM (#2237495)
I think that analysis makes a good deal of sense. But, the problem is that I'm not convinced that MORP is the correct way to evaluate players like DM (or Clemens, for that matter). The problem is that these players are not replaceable - unlike Juan Encarnacion, this is a very unique good. (Not taking into consideration the value of the contract as an investment into other opportunities.)

Thus, you can't use $16mm and sign Clemens I if Clemens II doesn't sign. And, thus, I'm not sure what is the rational valuation for DM. What is the rational valuation for something that is irreplaceable? I assume you pay the most that you can afford without it negatively effecting the rest of your team's construction (giving other opportunities, etc.).

(As an aside: His surname is Daisuke, right? So, calling him Matsuzaka is likely calling Ramirez "Manny," right? Nothing wrong with that, of course, just making sure.)
   59. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: November 14, 2006 at 05:00 PM (#2237500)
Why is rational action determined by an artificial statistic with a funny name? MORP is a very vage, best-guess attempt to say what wins are worth, using a vague, best-guess estimate of a generalized replacement level. The replacement level for the Red Sox is not equal to the generalized replacement level, even if it were measured perfectly. Wins do not have the same monetary value to the Red Sox at the generalized win-value that MORP is based on, even if MORP were a perfect estimate.

If you want my cheap econ-101 reading of Henry's bid, it's that the Red Sox forecast MORP to be utterly irrelevant to this offseason because its estimate of $$/win is way, way too low in a game swimming in money.
   60. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: November 14, 2006 at 05:01 PM (#2237503)
Thus, you can't use $16mm and sign Clemens I if Clemens II doesn't sign. And, thus, I'm not sure what is the rational valuation for DM. What is the rational valuation for something that is irreplaceable?
This also seems like a really good point to me.
   61. OlePerfesser Posted: November 14, 2006 at 05:33 PM (#2237530)
Again, I know it's de rigeuer here to crap on whatever the BProsp folks do, but MORP is not vague and it's not a guess. It's a non-linear relationship between productivity and market prices, estimated via multiple regression from past data. The market valuation curve tends to shift upward slightly each year (as teams' revenues rise), but an inflation factor has been built into my back-of-the-envelope calculations.

The non-linearity of the MORP equation also addresses Josh's point. In effect, it considers the fact that you can't plug in two cheap 4-WARP players to replace an 8-WARP guy.

In any case, I'm on record as forecasting that we're about to see 30 days of fruitless negotiating. I'll be happy to be wrong about that, 'cause it'll mean either (a) Boras has settled for less than his client's true-FA value, or (b) Mr. Henry has spent way more than the going market price to bring in a pitcher who will entertain me. We'll see.

One worry I have is that this gambit is a repeat of some of the Sox FO's recent trade-deadline follies: they spend most of their time on a complicated and ultimately doomed negotiation, while other options evaporate.
   62. chris p Posted: November 14, 2006 at 05:41 PM (#2237543)
(As an aside: His surname is Daisuke, right? So, calling him Matsuzaka is likely calling Ramirez "Manny," right? Nothing wrong with that, of course, just making sure.)

i believe his surname is Matsuzaka.
   63. Bmore Boy (Thailand edition) Posted: November 14, 2006 at 06:06 PM (#2237559)
Josh, Matsuzaka is his surname, Daisuke his given name. The confusion probably arises from the fact that in Japanese the surname comes first, and you'll often see it both ways when translated into English. The only way to really know (other than read it in Japanese) is to know Japanese names - and Daisuke is a given name, Matsuzaka a family name.
   64. Josh Posted: November 14, 2006 at 06:27 PM (#2237588)
Thanks, chris & bb. That helps.

Prof - I think we actually aren't saying the same thing. I'm not just arguing that Mats = 6 wins which is better than 3+3 wins. I'm arguing that for certain elite players, replacement value is a bit of a concept that doesn't seem to make sense - you can't replace him, therefore his market is pretty much (at this point) an N of 1. Same with Bonds in his all-time great seasons. Or Liriano. Or Clemens, really. MORP doesn't make sense in that context.

(OTOH, MORP makes perfect sense when we are looking at even the JD Drews of the world, who are good but not clearly outside the realm of even some other players on the market today.)

We may just disagree if Mats is such a player. I think the RS, though, value DM in the N=1 category. (Of course, I don't mean that; DM is in a category of N=veryverysmall, and unavailable.)
   65. Hungry Hungry Hipolito Pichardo Posted: November 14, 2006 at 06:54 PM (#2237612)
The posting fee really should have little to do with the contract negotiation. It's a sunk cost, it should have no bearing on the discussions between the Sox and Boras. On the one hand, let's say the Sox would bid up to $20M annual value for Daisuke, all other things being equal. That's a ceiling. They wouldn't end up having to pay that because of Matsuzaka's bargaining position.

Daisuke's best alternative is whatever he makes this year ($4M or something? I'm not sure), then reentering the FA market next year, with the risk that he could get injured and not get the big payoff. So maybe his walk-away point would be $7M/year (my speculation).

Those are the best alternatives for each side; they'll likely come out somewhere in the middle, finding a way to divvy up the economic value available in some more or less equitable fashion.

Having an "overall salary budget" for him would be sub-optimal for the Sox if they're behaving rationally (though there may be some upper bound on salary they could feasibly pay).
   66. OlePerfesser Posted: November 14, 2006 at 07:34 PM (#2237658)
Josh: Well, you're certainly right that when N = small, teams pay a premium price for elite talent. That's why the relationship of market value to productivity is non-linear. And MORP captures the non-linearity. In every off-season, there are a few 8-10 WARP players; they always get higher amounts per marginal win than less stellar players. It's why you might be willing to pay $16-$18M/yr. for the Rockets or Mannys of this world. (BTW, Drew's WARP1 was 7.3 last year, very close to what we might be assuming for Matsuzaka going forward--though betting on Drew to be consistently healthy might not be too savvy.)

Hipolito: The posting fee is NOT a sunk cost. It's not "irretrievable" in this sense: If Boras acts like an ass or Matsuzaka has a motorcycle accident in the next 30 days, the Sox can walk away without spending a dime. It is effectively Seibu's cut of Matsuzaka's future earnings, but they get zip if a deal isn't reached. Since it is therefore part of the marginal cost of signing him, the Sox MUST consider it in their negotiations--unless they're irrational.
   67. Hungry Hungry Hipolito Pichardo Posted: November 14, 2006 at 07:48 PM (#2237681)
OleP: Correct on the sunk cost. My idiocy.
   68. Hungry Hungry Hipolito Pichardo Posted: November 14, 2006 at 07:54 PM (#2237689)
Still, the point holds that there should be common ground between Matsuzaka's best alternative and the Sox' best alternative, since -- depending on Matsuzaka's risk tolerance and personal desire to play in MLB as soon as possible -- DM's walkaway point should be relatively low.
   69. OlePerfesser Posted: November 14, 2006 at 08:07 PM (#2237700)
I hope you're right, Hipolito. Boras has shown he's willing to keep college draftees inactive a year to squeeze out more dollars, so I fear the size of the posting fee is like a flashing light in front of him, saying "you can get another $34M+ if you wait..."

Also, one qualification to my use of the word "irrational": I mean that narrowly, related purely to $$$. We might have to entertain the possibility that Mr. Henry has joined Mr. Steinbrenner as a "win-maximizer" rather than a "profit-maximizer," willing to over-spend to get another flag. We'll see.
   70. plim Posted: November 14, 2006 at 09:56 PM (#2237801)
I like Justin Speier because he has a funky delivery.

We should get as many pitchers with exotic deliveries as possible.


we're talking about a team that has employed: mike myers, chad bradford, tim wakefield, hideo nomo, byung hyun kim, and keith foulke. how many more exotic deliveries do you want?! =)

btw, i didn't even mention rich garces...any delivery motion from that body is funky!
   71. Tom Cervo, backup catcher Posted: November 14, 2006 at 10:10 PM (#2237812)
Michael Kay is reporting it's $50 million for the rights to Matsuzaka. Even a conservative estimate of 3-4 years at $10 million per you're looking at an investment greater than $20 million for someone that's never even thrown a pitch in the majors. To be honest, I'm starting to believe more and more he'll never sign with the Red Sox.
   72. Famous Original Joe C Posted: November 14, 2006 at 11:23 PM (#2237870)
Michael Kay is reporting it's $50 million for the rights to Matsuzaka

Would Hitler pay $20M a year for Daisuke Matsuzaka?
   73. Famous Original Joe C Posted: November 14, 2006 at 11:34 PM (#2237881)
Seriously though, all of the talk about the Red Sox not really wanting to sign Matsuzaka are way off base.

The Red Sox are swimming in cash, and need a top of the rotation pitcher. The best available option is Matsuzaka. The amount they bid for a posting fee does not count against the salary cap, and to include that as sort of a "well, it means they are playing $XX million a year" misses the point. They have, by my count, $40-45 million space under the salary cap, and Matsuzaka's salary will easily fit under that umbrella. When you consider the potential to recoup some of the posting fee through increased exposure and popularity overseas, it makes perfect sense.

How, other than an overactive imagination or sour grapes, is it any more complex than that?
   74. Tom Cervo, backup catcher Posted: November 14, 2006 at 11:42 PM (#2237890)
Seriously though, all of the talk about the Red Sox not really wanting to sign Matsuzaka are way off base.


It's not that I think they don't want to, but I don't see Boras advising Matsuzaka to sign for anything but a huge, huge deal considering the money he knows teams are willing to invest just to talk to him.
   75. Buzzards Bay Posted: November 15, 2006 at 12:00 AM (#2237903)
what if you syndicated a half-hour tv show with Matsuzaka as the headliner-----have a Matsuzaka/RedSox centric MLB weekly show exported to the Japanese market
30 spring training games
162 season games
March through Sept-October-----8 months = 32 shows per season
produced by NESN sponsored by say Mizuno
that would easily bump the Japan version of 'The Mad Fisherman'
   76. cseadog Posted: November 15, 2006 at 12:52 AM (#2237928)
over at BA, Jim Callis says "it's not unprecedented for the Japanese team to kick back part of the posting fee..."

If so, then it's much more likely this deal will get done.

This is just a fascinating negotiation. TheBosox have 30 days and then it goes to next high bidder. So essentially Seibu should be willing to kick back at least the differential between the high bid and next bid. do they kick back more or wait to see want the #2 team does?

What does Boras do? Take the $4m this year from Seibu and try to collect the entire bounty next year? Will the market be same? Teams may be flush with cash today, but owners spend it like drunken sailors.

The posting fee doesn't count towards the luxury tax, so a willingness to pay a posting fee doesn't necessary mean teams will pay that much in salary. So he can't recoup the full ~$42M reportedly bid even if he waits a year.

If DM's free agent value is 5/75, the deal may not get done. After the posting fee of 42M less a 7M kickback less a 40% luxury tax discount (generous) the salary "cost" of the posting fee is at least $21M. So if the value on the market is 5/75, then the offer should be 5/54. If DM waits, he gets 4M from Seibu and should be able to get 4/60 next year. Total comp by waiting = 64M. Boras should take 5/64 or 3/38 or 4/50. Will the Sox pony an add'l 10M?
   77. Mister High Standards Posted: November 15, 2006 at 01:11 AM (#2237939)
TheBosox have 30 days and then it goes to next high bidder.


No it doesn't. We have 100 threads on this, could you pay attention. The Sox have 30 days and then it is over - and he goes back to Japan. UNLESS - Bug Selig determines the RedSox didn't bargain in good faith, in which case Bud has the right to offer the Lions the number 2 bid, but they have no obligation to accept it.
   78. cseadog Posted: November 15, 2006 at 01:28 AM (#2237946)
So if its up to Bud's determination of "good faith", then Seibu should kick back MORE to the Sox. Bigger risk they get no $.

Of course, if what they really want is the player for another season, Seibu can hang tough.
   79. Josh Posted: November 15, 2006 at 01:31 AM (#2237947)
But, if they wanted that, they wouldn't have posted him.

MHS: no need for the snark.
   80. chris p Posted: November 15, 2006 at 01:33 AM (#2237950)
if the red sox do not sign him and he goes back to japan and is a free agent next year, guess who will sign him!
   81. Toby Posted: November 15, 2006 at 02:15 AM (#2237976)
Given the creativity of Boras and Boston, I would not be surprised to see a funky contract scenario something like this (assuming a $40M posting fee):

4 years at $10M per year
DM has an option to buy out the last year (becoming a FA after 3 years) by paying Boston $10M
If DM does not exercise that option, Boston has an option to buy out the last year by paying DM $5M
   82. Darren Posted: November 15, 2006 at 02:19 AM (#2237979)
That's so kooky I can't even make sense of it, Toby.

FWIW, it's official that Boston won the bidding but there doesn't seem to be any info about how much they bid. WTF?
   83. nycfan Posted: November 15, 2006 at 02:25 AM (#2237985)
Aren't the Yankees going to be watching like a hawk to make sure there isn't a kickback deal? Unless it isn't actually against the rules, which would be completely ridiculous
   84. philly Posted: November 15, 2006 at 02:26 AM (#2237987)
51.1M

http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=2662193

The Sox have never publicly offered more than 40-44M for a player to, you know, actually play for the team. Now they have apparently topped 50M just to chat.

If the Mets were really #2 at ~38M, then the Sox are back to having paid a pretty sizable premium.
   85. Tom Cervo, backup catcher Posted: November 15, 2006 at 02:28 AM (#2237988)
Per ESPNNews, $51 million. Unless Boston offers him something like Oswalt money or more, I will be shocked if he signs.
   86. karlmagnus Posted: November 15, 2006 at 02:33 AM (#2237992)
Philly, they paid Pedro $75mm and Manny $160mm. If I'm the Sox I do a back-loaded 6/90 and the deal works quite nicely, provided the FA market's at 2000-01 levels (and Matsuzaka doesn't choke on his sushi the first day in Ft. Myers, which if 2007 is like 2006 will probably happen.) The deal assumes the FA market's at 2000-01 levels, which given the loony trends in markets elsewhere is probably right. Expect Zito to get something like 7/130.

Why would Boras do 6/90 now? Because if the market's at 2000-01 levels now, but by next year Bernanke's come to his senses and deflated us, the market for even a fit Matsuzaka may be 5/50. At these levels, Matsuzaka's subject to market risk (very substantial, IMHO) as well as fitness risk.
   87. Danny Posted: November 15, 2006 at 02:35 AM (#2237993)
I love the $.1M. It's like The Price is Right.
   88. Raskolnikov Posted: November 15, 2006 at 02:41 AM (#2237996)
Philly, they paid Pedro $75mm and Manny $160mm. If I'm the Sox I do a back-loaded 6/90 and the deal works quite nicely

karlmagnus, look what you wrote there. Pedro-Prime - 75M. Manny-Prime (at the time, one of the best young hitters in history) - 160M. Matsuzaka - likely comp. Oswalt - 6/140M. That's insane. No way.

Expect Zito to get something like 7/130

Yes, there's inflation. You're projecting Germany 1920's. That's not going to happen.
   89. Darren Posted: November 15, 2006 at 02:42 AM (#2237997)
Let's be optimistic and say Matsuzaka is a clone of Clemens, who has averaged 7.5 WARP1 over the last 6 years. By MORP, that's worth a little over $16M/yr. Allow for inflation and call it $17M.

OleP, I've always wondered, but how are people getting WARP1 for pitchers? I don't see it anywhere on the BPro site. Lil help?

The problem with MORP, I think, is that if you plug in guys like Soriano and Lee, they're going to get a lot more than MORP says they should. I think the market's taken a big leap forward, particularly at the top. (Please don't take this as a shot at BPro. It's a cool stat.)

As for the Clemens comparison, his past six years have included 2 of his best years, some really mediocre ones, and a year where he intentionally pitched only half a season. If you look at 04-05 Clemens (using PRAR/10 as WARP), the MORP comes up with values of like $20 to $26 mil per year. So if the Red Sox think that Matsuzaka is going to be as good as Clemens in those years--~200 IP, 2.50 ERA in the NL in front of a great defense--then their superhigh bid makes some sense.

I think you may have a reasonable concern about Boras though. Even if Matsu wouldn't get that full $40 to $50 mil in posting fees next year, he'd still get a ton more on the open market. It's a risk to stay put for a year, and it'd certainly be no fun pitching for a team that you just screwed out of $50 mil, but it'd be a big payoff after a year. Maybe if the bidding falls through, Matsu could offer Seibu $25 mil. to release him.
   90. The Ghost fouled out, but stays in the game Posted: November 15, 2006 at 02:47 AM (#2238002)
Now they have apparently topped 50M just to chat.

No they haven't. Assuming that there is no kickback and there is no Selig interference if he doesn't sign, here's what they've done before spending a penny:

1. They have kept all other teams from signing him for a year.
2. They have secured their own negotiating rights to him for this winter.

To sign him, yes, they'll end up spending a fortune, but here is one argument that they can give to Boras: The $51 million is a cost that will REDUCE the amount which they can logically pay DM. It is part of the cost of getting his services. Except for the luxury tax factor, every dollar they spend on the posting fee is a dollar they can't afford to pay in salary. Rather then paying $51 mil to Seibu and $50 mil to DM, they'd save money paying $100 mil to Barry Zito. If the $51 mill was nonrefundable if he didn't sign, it is a totally different story.

I don't think I explained that terribly well, but hopefully, I got the point across.
   91. Darren Posted: November 15, 2006 at 02:48 AM (#2238003)
The $51 mil is nuts. I'm finally convinced that they have some marketing magic that will make that worth it to them. If not, it's a huge, huge, HUGE waste of payroll on a very risky proposition. Knowing the price, I'd rather get one of the other Japanese pitchers.

I'm going back to my 3/25 offer plan. Then he'd just be insanely expensive.
   92. robinred Posted: November 15, 2006 at 02:50 AM (#2238007)
I'm finally convinced that they have some marketing magic that will make that worth it to them.

Or they just did it to screw the Yankees and they figure Selig won't blow the whistle on them.
   93. Xander Posted: November 15, 2006 at 02:50 AM (#2238008)
There's no way you are going to be able to justify the price by adding it together as an AAV and comparing it to other players. So i'm guessing the Sox are just expecting the ancillary benefits to pile up and reduce what would be the AAV to around market value. I don't know. 51 million is a lot. He has to be Halladay for it to work. Coincedence or not, ~50 million is what Pedro and Damon signed for; so you are going to have a lot of fans throwing that back in their faces if it doesn't work.
   94. Шĥy Posted: November 15, 2006 at 02:51 AM (#2238009)
I'm finally convinced that they have some marketing magic that will make that worth it to them. If not, it's a huge, huge, HUGE waste of payroll on a very risky proposition.

It's still risky though. If Matsuzaka sucks and/or gets injured a lot, the Red Sox won't make much. Kaz Matusi turned into a national embarassment for Japan very quickly.
   95. Darren Posted: November 15, 2006 at 02:52 AM (#2238011)
Ghost, you explained it well, but I don't think Boras will give a ####. He certainly won't be willing to knock the full $51 mil off the contract total.

The AP/ESPN article doesn't mention a source for the $51 mil figure. Did MLB announce that number?
   96. Dr. Vaux Posted: November 15, 2006 at 02:52 AM (#2238012)
No, you explained it very well. Since the luxury tax is 40% (right?), laying out a total of $130 million or something for him, $50 million of which is non-luxury-taxed, will cost less, or at least no more, than a $90 million contract for Zito. Add in the fact that I'm sure the Red Sox think Matsuzaka is quite a bit better than Zito, and that may just explain it.
   97. philly Posted: November 15, 2006 at 02:53 AM (#2238018)
Philly, they paid Pedro $75mm and Manny $160mm.

Yeah, that was the profligate Duquette/Harrington Sox. I meant the knew value oriented Theo Sox. They'd never do anything crazy!

Darren,

WARP1 totals are on the pitcher DT cards. You have to scroll down a couple sections to "Advanced Batting Stats".
   98. Josh Posted: November 15, 2006 at 02:55 AM (#2238022)
My lower lips keeps twitching as if it is about to help extract a word, but nothing comes out. $51.11 million.

There is simply no way any of us can make this make any sense. So, either it doesn't make sense or it is beyond our capacity.

I'm led to one unmistakable conclusion: not only is Theo trying to get the best pitcher on the market, he is trying to prove G0d's existence.
   99. Tom Cervo, backup catcher Posted: November 15, 2006 at 02:55 AM (#2238023)
Maybe if the bidding falls through, Matsu could offer Seibu $25 mil. to release him.


I've wondered if they could do this. Dice-K wouldn't be a FA until April of '08, and I'm not sure he could play just part of the year, but without playing until April he's not eligible for free agency. Now if the posting system fails once for Seibu, would they accept an offer from Boras and Dice-K that if he's granted free agency, they get X% of his new contract? It seems like it should be legal because it doesn't screw his team -- I believe the main reason the posting process was created because of the Soriano move -- and the player isn't screwed either.
   100. Darren Posted: November 15, 2006 at 02:55 AM (#2238024)
Philly,

Thanks. What a stupid place to put them.
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