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   1. RobertMachemer Posted: November 24, 2006 at 06:03 AM (#2244891)
I think the whole "Is he worth it?" question becomes pretty close to unanswerable right now. Gary Matthews just got $50 million dollars to be sub-mediocre for 5 years. Is he worth that? No... except at least one other team thought that he was worth at least close to that, and other sub-mediocre players are getting roughly comparable contracts. What defines "worth it" at this point? I may sound a bit like the movie-trailer voiceover guy, but in a world where Gary Matthews is worth $10 million a year to not-suck (if the Angels are lucky) for five years, isn't it possible that Matsuzaka is worth every penny (and possibly more)?

(Honestly, I don't really know the answer. I've never taken economics. I'm vaguely familiar with the idea of bubbles and this sure looks like one, but if tulip bulbs and baseball cards and little Sarges are being sold for bazillions of dollars, doesn't that make them "worth it" in some sense? Sorta kinda? Or, to put it another way, if consistent sub-mediocre hitting and fielding is worth 10 million a year, then isn't the chance of consistent star pitching worth a heckuva lot more than that?)
   2. depletion Posted: November 24, 2006 at 06:41 AM (#2244898)
I don't think the Red Sox sign Matsuzaka. A contract long enough to amortize the negotiating rights fee just doesn't make sense. No pitcher is going to get a 10 year contract (Wayne Garland notwithstanding). Why not wait until Johan Santana is a FA and get the real deal?
   3. Eraser-X is emphatically dominating teh site!!! Posted: November 24, 2006 at 07:13 AM (#2244906)
I would agree that the variability on either side is more with an NPB import than a long-time MLB pitcher. After all, there are adjustments to be made.

I don't understand why phenoms would be a good comparison though. The man has pitched for 8 years in a Major League that is far superior to AAA.
   4. Darren Posted: November 24, 2006 at 07:35 AM (#2244908)
I don't understand why phenoms would be a good comparison though.

Because the phenoms have great track records in leagues other than MLB, just like Matsuzaka does. Granted, Matsuzaka's track record is longer, but the phenoms I'm thinking of (Weaver in this case) mitigate that by having some success in MLB. Another example might be Mark Prior after the 2002 season. Excellent in a lesser league and also excellent in a short stint in MLB.

The man has pitched for 8 years in a Major League that is far superior to AAA.

Davenport's study showed it to be somewhat better than AAA, but I wouldn't call it far superior to AAA. I'd say it's more like halfway between AAA and MLB. (.92-.93 of MLB, as opposed to .85 or so used for AAA to MLB)
   5. Eraser-X is emphatically dominating teh site!!! Posted: November 24, 2006 at 08:08 AM (#2244911)
Davenport's study showed it to be somewhat better than AAA, but I wouldn't call it far superior to AAA. I'd say it's more like halfway between AAA and MLB. (.92-.93 of MLB, as opposed to .85 or so used for AAA to MLB)


Honest question:
How do you think that the NL/AL desparity would factor into this at this point?

Is NPB ever closer in level to one of the two leagues than they are to each other?
   6. Darren Posted: November 24, 2006 at 01:34 PM (#2244932)
I know MGL did some work on the NL/AL thing, but I didn't follow too closely.
   7. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: November 24, 2006 at 02:52 PM (#2244945)
Why not wait until Johan Santana is a FA and get the real deal?
Because the Red Sox, and their fans, want to win lots of games in 2007. Waiting for other players in later years is a good way to not win in the intervening years. Plus, when Johan's on the market, Manny will be coming off the books, and Schilling will be gone, so they'll have the money for both Johan and Matsuzaka anyway.

I don't really know what to say about comps. I kinda like Jered Weaver / Mark Prior one, though Matsuzaka's raw stuff is better than Weaver's and worse than Prior's. The one big difference is age, in that Matsuzaka may not have quite as much room to improve, but has gotten through the highest injury-risk years and pitched a good number of innings in his past. And, of course, the other big difference is that when you're choosing comps based in part on the variance of projection (which I think makes good sense), then you're necessarily recognizing how much guesswork is involved in the game for us.
   8. TVerik, the gum-snappin' hairdresser Posted: November 24, 2006 at 03:31 PM (#2244957)
but has gotten through the highest injury-risk years

For whatever reason, this is revolutionary to me, and I've never heard it before. Are you saying that there's actual research that says that if a pitcher goes without injury until either X age or Y innings, he's more likely to pitch well for the long haul?
   9. Nasty Nate Posted: November 24, 2006 at 04:18 PM (#2244969)
I don't really care about comparisons, but I wanted to let you guys know his nickname: Dizzy.

A turkey told me yesterday about it, and I think its fitting.
   10. philly Posted: November 24, 2006 at 04:30 PM (#2244973)
For whatever reason, this is revolutionary to me, and I've never heard it before. Are you saying that there's actual research that says that if a pitcher goes without injury until either X age or Y innings, he's more likely to pitch well for the long haul?

Sort of. I beleive the research has been done by BP. If you're a subscriber you might be able to find it in their archives.

I don't think it's necessarily that a pitcher is more likely to pitch well so much as it's that he's less likely to get hurt. The research purportedly answers the question who is more likely to get hurt in the next 5 years - a durable 21 yr old from ages 22-26 or a durable 26 yr old from ages 27-31?

The answer seems to be that the former (we'll call him Hillip Phughes) is more likely to get hurt than the later (we'll call him Ponathon Japelbon or Bosh Jeckett or Maisuke Datsuzaka).

The leading speculation for why that may be true is that the younger pitcher is still growing into his body so we don't really know how he can handle heavy workloads and/or the older pitcher has already shown himself to be a bit of a durability freak.
   11. Joe Bivens, Minor Genius Posted: November 24, 2006 at 04:46 PM (#2244976)
You all are driving his price up. If Japan will only give him 3 mil a year to sign there, the Red Sox should offer him 5 mil a year for 4 years, and give him the chance to save face and not have to pitch for Seibu again.
   12. TVerik, the gum-snappin' hairdresser Posted: November 24, 2006 at 04:52 PM (#2244978)
If you're in Lowball Land, why not offer him $3.1 million per?
   13. RobertMachemer Posted: November 24, 2006 at 04:55 PM (#2244980)
I've had a moment to rethink what I originally wrote in this thread and want to try rewording it:

Let's assume (probably rightly) that Gary Matthews isn't worth $10 million per year. "Replacement level" (whatever that is) is generally worth the minimum salary, and the difference between Matthews and replacement level on-the-field is probably not worth the $10 million per year that Matthews just got.

What if that's a bad assumption?

Teams are making money hand-over-fist right now (from what I hear). What if Gary Matthews and Alex Gonzalez and Juan Pierre, all of whom are somewhere between "average" and "replacement level," really are worth $5-10 million per year?

Well, simply put, it means that everyone is worth a lot more than we probably thought. Rookies and pre-arbitrtion players (like Kevin youkilis) are ridiculously valuable, assuming they're better than replacement level. So are the top stars (Manny Ramirez), since they're quite a bit better (when healthy) than the $5-10 million guys. And the $5-10 million guys who ARE average (Mike Lowell) are suddenly underpaid as well if Gary Matthews is worth $10 million a year.

Right now, if I'm the Red Sox, I'm exploring opportunities to trade Mike Lowell (and Manny Ramirez and everyone else but the ridiculously underpriced players like youkilis and Papelbon and now, David Ortiz) for value -- not to "dump salary" but for actual hole-filling value -- and I'm looking for a Brian Daubach-types to man the most easily-filled positions (first base, relief pitcher). I'm also becoming a LOT more wary of the free agent market. Far better to trade away the current team (most of whom are 'underpaid' by the standards of the current free agent market) than to try to sign people under the new free agent prices.

Thoughts?
   14. Joe Bivens, Minor Genius Posted: November 24, 2006 at 04:59 PM (#2244982)
If you're in Lowball Land, why not offer him $3.1 million per?

We're helping him save face, so we don't want to humiliate him with that offer. We want to allow him to accept our terms while maintaining dignity. The extra 8-10 million affords him honor.
   15. The Keith Law Blog Blah Blah (battlekow) Posted: November 24, 2006 at 05:43 PM (#2244991)
The extra 8-10 million affords him honor.

But who will tell him that the war is over?
   16. Margo Adams FC Posted: November 24, 2006 at 05:47 PM (#2244993)
Weaver dominated college, dominated the minor leagues briefly in 05, and then dominated at AAA and MLB in 2006.


I'm going to cut a little slack to scouts who believe that Weaver will settle in a good rather than a spectacular starter, while for the most part insisting that DiceK is a series changer. At least that's the sense I get from reading BA. That's why the Sox will overpay to sign Matsuzaka. Weaver is maybe a younger Zito in terms of stuff and ability to dominate. DiceK could be better than that, and that potential is the rarest commodity of all on the market right now.
   17. KJOK Posted: November 24, 2006 at 05:57 PM (#2244998)
There’s just no one out there that has dominated a slightly lower league than the Majors for as long as he has.

This is false. Lefty Grove dominated the IL in the early 1920's in a very similar fashion, similar number of years, and somewhat close age (Grove being a few years younger).
   18. Joe Bivens, Minor Genius Posted: November 24, 2006 at 06:31 PM (#2245007)
But who will tell him that the war is over?

Money talks, so I assume the money will.
   19. Joe Bivens, Minor Genius Posted: November 24, 2006 at 07:40 PM (#2245027)
Ok, ok Mr. Boras. Let's settle on 4/28.
   20. Mike Emeigh Posted: November 24, 2006 at 07:45 PM (#2245031)
I'm theorizing that the upward rise of salaries is causing teams to work harder at giving Ken Phelpsers chances in the majors and the increased viability of Japan as an alternate place to play for AAAers has reduced the level of AAA a bit.


Also, elite prospects are spending less time in AAA these days, either bypassing it all together or playing just a handful of games there.

-- MWE
   21. PJ Martinez Posted: November 24, 2006 at 07:59 PM (#2245041)
Is Lefty Grove still out there? Am I missing something? There's a joke I'm not getting, isn't there.
   22. fhomess Posted: November 24, 2006 at 08:13 PM (#2245048)
This whole lowballing thing just seems silly to me.
1. DM has just 1 year before becoming a Free Agent who can negotiate with ANY team in MLB, so it doesn't hurt him much to decline. Really, it hurts Seibu more than anyone else.
2. DM has left the negotiating to Boras who's his agent. Boras has many traits, and I don't think stupid is one of them.
3. You can't possibly lowball a player from Japan and have him save face by accepting it. There is far more honor in playing out his final year in Japan than accepting a lousy offer from an American. If you think otherwise, you don't understand the cultural differences.

As for the Red Sox, the $51 million has nothing to do with DM's talent as a pitcher. It's got everything to do with the potential to make huge in-roads into the Japanese market and open up a potentially very profitable revenue stream direct from the far east. No other player on the planet right now has the same level of potential there. The Red Sox know this very well, and so does Boras.

The Red Sox should pay DM what they believe he's worth as a baseball player. The $51 million should not factor into their salary decisions. That's how much the potential of getting into the Japanese market is worth to them.
   23. Шĥy Posted: November 24, 2006 at 08:27 PM (#2245056)
Is there any chance the Red Sox offer something like 5/5/12/12/12 with the argument that for the first two years they are only going to pay him slightly more than he would get in Japan but for years three through five, they will pay him market value?
   24. Joe Bivens, Minor Genius Posted: November 24, 2006 at 08:27 PM (#2245057)
Ichiro got 7.5 mil per. Matsui got 7 mil. Why should Matsuzaka get more?
   25. Margo Adams FC Posted: November 24, 2006 at 08:31 PM (#2245059)
Ichiro got 7.5 mil per. Matsui got 7 mil. Why should Matsuzaka get more?


Because it's not 2000 or 2002. Or was this a trick question?
   26. The Clarence Thomas of BBTF (scott) Posted: November 24, 2006 at 08:48 PM (#2245063)
#13 makes an interesting set of suppositions, and then goes entirely the wrong way with it.

we're not balancing a bottom line. we're trying to win baseball games.

money and budget is only concerned when it would limit your ability to accquire players who could win more games than the ones you have currently.
   27. Walt Davis Posted: November 24, 2006 at 09:50 PM (#2245113)
Sort of. I beleive the research has been done by BP. If you're a subscriber you might be able to find it in their archives.

I remember one such article. It purported to show that the serious injury rates for pitchers at quite young ages (certainly under 25 but if memory serves their big finding was a very high rate for those under 22 or something) were very high while after somewhere around 24-25 the injury rate was about constant. However the study was quite seriously flawed because it only looked at major-league pitchers and the number of ML pitchers at those very young ages is small and when I looked at it in our thread here, my memory is that it would only take 1-2 fewer pitcher injuries per each of those younger age groups to balance out to the same injury rate. Without the full sample of professional (and maybe college) pitchers in the 18-22 range, we can't really say much of anything about how injury rates might differ for that age group.

More relevant is probably the old research (Pete Palmer I think) on how pitchers with heavy workloads before (or was it including?) 25 was predictive of subsequent serious injury and decline. That study too was limited to ML pitchers if memory serves and so is similarly flawed. And of course it has the maddening problem that those who survived heavy early workloads are among the greatest pitchers in ML history.

There’s just no one out there that has dominated a slightly lower league than the Majors for as long as he has.

I think this contradicts two of Darren's main points. First, his consistent performance should give us greater confidence in our estimate of his "true talent". While it's true we don't know for sure the impact of those other factors (switching cultures, leagues, etc.), I really don't see any reason to think that the projection of his long-term value should be substantially more variable than that of players with similar MLEs. If anything, I'd say those arguments about external factors suggest that his MLE is his upside. (Yes, an unfamiliar style might lead to some additional short-term success a la Nomo, but major-league hitters eventually figure those things out.)

Second, this is an argument to me why phenoms are not a good comp. Prior's dominance of lesser leagues amounts to a smidgen over 300 IP; Jered Weaver's about 350 with 150 non-dominant innings added on top. Those guys' projections should have (had) huge confidence intervals on them.

I'd wager the best comps we have are the MLEs. Those probabaly aren't great comps given the relatively small number of players going to/from Japan.

As to whether to offer him Oswalt-type money ... I'd say of course not, he's less proven, currently under only the Red Sox control and also not eligible for MLB free agency for another 6-7 years. The only leverage he has is to play next year in Japan and become an FA in Japan but still not a true MLB free agent. Boras could harass me all he wants, but if I'm gonna have to pay Oswalt money, I'd rather do it next year when he's an FA and get my $51 M refunded. I know it's a semi-sunk cost, but no way is Matsuzaka gonna cost 5/$114 (in current dollars) next year (Oswalt plus the $51 M).

Off the top of my head ... Obviously in contract negotiations I wouldn't be able to treat him as if he's a rookie with no leverage. I think I'd treat him somewhere between a player who's arb-eligible for the first time and one entering their last year of arb, keeping in mind I paid $51 M just to talk to the guy and I want some of that money back. I'd actually like to get away with a 3-year contract but let's suppose Boras won't go for that. For 5 years, I'd probably go something like 5/8/10/10/10 with some vesting raises that push those last two years up to, say, $12 M. The 5/8/10 part is my guess as to what top starters will be getting in arb hearings and buyouts over the next couple seasons or so. That's still a minimum 5/$94 M cost to me, maybe $98 M. Tell you what, we'll add a $15 M option for year 6 with a $3 M buyout so Boras can say he got his client a 5/$50 contract (if the vesting raise conditions are met).

Yeah, I know, that puts my hypothetical negotation right around where everyone else is putting it. Note, I am assuming that the numbers, my scouts, etc. have all given me confidence he will be one of MLB's top young starters. But if I didn't expect him to be that good, I'd have never paid $51 M to begin with.

My hypothetical negotiations aside, the Ichiro and Matsui contracts, with inflation adjustments to say $10 M, appear to not be bad comps. But two things. First, the bids for them were much lower (plus the rumour the teams didn't have to pay the full bid) and if we inflated their "real total cost" I'm pretty sure we end up someplace well south of 5/$100 M. Second, top starters are still paid less than top (corner) hitters (with the occasional Clemens exception) though I suppose Matsuzaka may be a better pitcher than either of those guys are hitters.
   28. Swedish Chef Posted: November 24, 2006 at 10:11 PM (#2245129)
Off the top of my head ... Obviously in contract negotiations I wouldn't be able to treat him as if he's a rookie with no leverage.

Well, he has leverage, he is your ace, your entry to the japanese market, the guy you want so badly you broke the bank just to talk to him. Pretending the guy hasn't got any leverage won't get you far.
   29. Swedish Chef Posted: November 24, 2006 at 10:13 PM (#2245130)
That's why he won't pitch for 5 million dollars next year,
   30. Dr. Vaux Posted: November 24, 2006 at 10:30 PM (#2245144)
You know, if Carlos Lee is worth 6/$100 m, Matsusaka is worth 5/$114 m, or at least that doesn't look nearly as outrageous.

It's so predictable. Next year all the teams will start talking about cutting costs, and by the next CBA, the owners will be whining for a hard cap again and we'll have a two-year work stoppage. Why do they keep doing this?
   31. RobertMachemer Posted: November 24, 2006 at 10:40 PM (#2245157)
#13 makes an interesting set of suppositions, and then goes entirely the wrong way with it. we're not balancing a bottom line. we're trying to win baseball games. money and budget is only concerned when it would limit your ability to accquire players who could win more games than the ones you have currently.


Well, I totally agree with the last sentence, but, um, isn't that the Sox? If the Sox sign Lugo and Matsuzaka and Drew, will they have any money left in the budget to fill the holes in the bullpen and/or to get starting pitching insurance and/or to fill out the bench? Right now, I'd be surprised if Lugo comes cheaper than $10 million a year (and he may well be more expensive), if Drew comes cheaper than $15 million a year (and he could be more expensive than that), and if Matzusaka comes cheaper than $5 million a year (and he could be a LOT more expensive than that). That's $30 million dollars for three players (and could EASILY go over $40 million). And that doesn't count the money put down just to talk to Matsuzaka or arbitration awards for Pena (and others?) or new contracts for Papelbon and Youkilis (both of whom can be lowballed, but the Sox may not want to do that) or the cost of getting someone better thjan Timlin/Tavarez/Delcarmen to pitch in the pen. How much money do the Sox have?

That's why I bring up trading Lowell. In this market, he may be worth a lot more in trade to a team that doesn't have a Youkilis to plug into his spot than he is to the Red Sox.
   32. Tom Cervo, backup catcher Posted: November 24, 2006 at 11:38 PM (#2245200)
If you're looking for comps, the best ones I've heard based on his stuff would be a younger Moose, Coney, and then Oswalt. Moose and Cone seem like better comps to me though, as I think Oswalt throws harder than Dice-K does at this point.
   33. Darren Posted: November 25, 2006 at 03:21 AM (#2245304)
I think this contradicts two of Darren's main points. First, his consistent performance should give us greater confidence in our estimate of his "true talent".

Yes, his consistent performance ups our confidence in our projection for him. But his performance being in a lower league makes lowers our confidence. So he has one positive and one negative. The phenoms have one positive and one negative as well--great performance (positive) but limited track record (negative). I admit the injury nexus issue throws a wrench in the comparison a bit, but no comp is going to be perfect.

I'd wager the best comps we have are the MLEs. Those probabaly aren't great comps given the relatively small number of players going to/from Japan.

I think we're talking about different things here. I agree that MLEs are the best comps for his likely performance. But I'm looking for comps by which we figure out his compensation. That's why I go with the phenoms, who also have great projections but large error bars.

That's why I bring up trading Lowell. In this market, he may be worth a lot more in trade to a team that doesn't have a Youkilis to plug into his spot than he is to the Red Sox.

But the Red Sox don't have another Youkilis to plug in at 1B. And they're going to have a very hard time getting someone to replicate the offensive+defensive contribution of Lowell.
   34. Golfing Great Mitch Cumstein Posted: November 25, 2006 at 04:19 AM (#2245331)
I think the whole "Is he worth it?" question becomes pretty close to unanswerable right now. Gary Matthews just got $50 million dollars to be sub-mediocre for 5 years. Is he worth that? No... except at least one other team thought that he was worth at least close to that, and other sub-mediocre players are getting roughly comparable contracts. What defines "worth it" at this point?

In a one on one negotiation, the parties determination of worth is essential. One of the parties has to convince the other that its offer reflects the 'worth' of Daisuke Matsuzaka. Neither Boras nor the Sox can refer to other offers. Knowing 'worth' is what the negotiation is all about. In fact, the negotiation cuts against Boras. Matsuzaka wants to pitch in MLB and his talent is highly variable. Whatever value Boras puts on his next x years (discounted for the Red Sox giving up 6-x years of control), he has to accept a discount for DM's desire to pitch in the ML.
This whole lowballing thing just seems silly to me.
1. DM has just 1 year before becoming a Free Agent who can negotiate with ANY team in MLB, so it doesn't hurt him much to decline. Really, it hurts Seibu more than anyone else.
2. DM has left the negotiating to Boras who's his agent. Boras has many traits, and I don't think stupid is one of them.


DM does not have one year before total FA. Sean McAdam has stated that he will be a Japanese FA after the '08 season. If he has a season plus a month as posters have stated, how would he sign a contract for the month of April with Seibu?
Negotiating with Boras is meaningless in this case. DM wants to play this year and Boras' attempt to hold out is empty.
   35. Darren Posted: November 25, 2006 at 04:33 AM (#2245338)
But the Red Sox don't have another Youkilis to plug in at 1B. And they're going to have a very hard time getting someone to replicate the offensive+defensive contribution of Lowell.

I guess I should amend this. If the Red Sox could get good value for Lowell, then it might be worth their while to see if they could sign Craig Wilson or Aubrey Huff on the cheap. But then they're probably punting a win or two in 06 (unless the haul for Lowell is an otherwise unattainable reliever or SS).
   36. Darren Posted: November 25, 2006 at 05:03 AM (#2245355)
Another possible way to determine his market value: look at other foreign imports and how much they got compared to MLB free agents at the same time. For example, Contreras, considered an ace out of Cuba, got 4/32 before 03. During that same offseason, Glavine got 3/37 and Maddux 1/15 (those are the only two elite-ish pitchers I could find on short notice. So Contreras, who was considered a potential ace, got an annual salary of ~33 percent less than established aces. Applying that to Matsuzaka/Oswalt, that would mean Dice's expected salary would be ~5/50. Obviously, that was very quick and very dirty, but I'd imagine that you could do this with the recent Japanese and Cuban imports and arrive at an average discount; and I imagine we'd keep coming in around the 5/50 that keeps coming up.
   37. Rough Carrigan Posted: November 25, 2006 at 05:23 AM (#2245367)
Doesn't it seem at least somewhat reassuring (to Red Sox fans) that Matsuzaka's got something like 5 pitches? If his slider, for example, just doesn't do it in MLB, so what? He can go to more changes or 2 seamers, etc . . .
   38. Margo Adams FC Posted: November 25, 2006 at 05:31 AM (#2245372)
He's going to be a total stud. It's not like he hasn't pitched against major leaguers. He has, and when he did he was dominant. This is where the comparison to top prospects stops working, I think.
   39. Darren Posted: November 25, 2006 at 05:32 AM (#2245373)
I'd feel a lot better if Matsuzaka threw 98 and had a great splitter than I do with him throwing 91 with 4 other pitches. There seem to be a lot more aces with the former profile than the latter.

Dan, can you clarify this:

I included Japanese-->MLE and MLE-->Japanese in addition to Japanese-->MLB and MLB-->Japanese when doing my factors and get, roughly, an averaged factor of 0.86 compared to 0.78 for PCL/AAA.

About 10 years ago, Dial and I verified that 0.82 was still working throughout the 90s up to that point. Replicating that, I got a lower figure for the last 10 years.



What was 0.82 working for? As a ratio of Japan-->MLB? What was the lower figure that you speak of? 0.80? That's pretty fascinating stuff and serves as a cautionary tale for the Red Sox.
   40. Darren Posted: November 25, 2006 at 05:33 AM (#2245374)
He's going to be a total stud. It's not like he hasn't pitched against major leaguers. He has, and when he did he was dominant. This is where the comparison to top prospects stops working, I think.

Really? Both Weaver and Prior pitched against MLB far more than Matsuzaka has and both of them were fairly dominant as well. They did it in the regular season as well.
   41. Rough Carrigan Posted: November 25, 2006 at 05:41 AM (#2245376)
How many aces actually throw 98 with a great splitter? That's not actually Santana or Carpenter or Webb or Oswalt or really anyone right now. Don't you have to be a little more openminded about what constitutes an ace?
   42. The Hop-Clop Goes On (psa1) Posted: November 25, 2006 at 05:43 AM (#2245380)
For this article, I didn't use 0.82, I used whatever the IL number is (.77 or something? don't remember.) to give a somewhat conservative translation using Rallymonkey's method. I did that for DM's 2005 -- if you click the link, it's the second table from the top. A 2.56 FIP becomes a 3.44 FIP...9.5 K/9 becomes about 8 K/9.

It's a cautionary tale if somebody thinks DM is going to replicate his NPB numbers, but I don't think anybody expects that. If it means a reasonable expectation is 3.44...woohoo!
   43. Margo Adams FC Posted: November 25, 2006 at 05:45 AM (#2245381)
Well, Prior's no prospect at this point, it would seem. And you know, I haven't seen him pitch in person, nor do I have a crystal ball. So compare away, I have no objections. But his MLE's compare favorably to U.S. aces per BP, IIRC, and the scouts tend to drool. Good enough for me.
   44. Dan Szymborski Posted: November 25, 2006 at 05:48 AM (#2245382)
What was 0.82 working for? As a ratio of Japan-->MLB? What was the lower figure that you speak of? 0.80? That's pretty fascinating stuff and serves as a cautionary tale for the Red Sox.

The 0.82 was working for the AAA leagues through 1998.

I treat the shape of Japanese leagues differently - I have Matsuzaka's best comp being Roy Oswalt. The translations I get for him are very close to what Oswalt was doing in the minors.
   45. Darren Posted: November 25, 2006 at 05:55 AM (#2245384)
Well, Prior's no prospect at this point, it would seem.

Right, but I'm talking about Prior after his rookie year.

How many aces actually throw 98 with a great splitter? That's not actually Santana or Carpenter or Webb or Oswalt or really anyone right now. Don't you have to be a little more openminded about what constitutes an ace?

Yes, you're right. 98 is too high (unless you're a Detroit pitcher in the Postseason on Fox). I should have said mid-90s fastball and great split/change/slider. I'm thinking that the top pitchers tend to have 1 great pitch and 1-2 very good ones. They tend not to rely as much on mixing it up.

I treat the shape of Japanese leagues differently - I have Matsuzaka's best comp being Roy Oswalt. The translations I get for him are very close to what Oswalt was doing in the minors.

So is his best comp Oswalt right now? Or when Oswalt was a rookie?
   46. J. Cross Posted: November 25, 2006 at 06:11 AM (#2245389)
To back up what Rough Carrigan said,

Fastest average fastball (min. 162 IP) from Bill James Handbook

King Felix:   95.2
Verlander:    95.1
Beckett:      94.7
Penny:        93.9
Sabathia:     93.7
Cain:         93.4
Bonderman:    93.3
Escober:      93.1
Wang:         93.1
E. Santana:   93.1
J. Santana:   93.1
Snell:        92.8
Oswalt:       92.7
Smoltz:       92.7
Bedard:       92.6


No starter in baseball works at 98 and only Verlander, King Felix and maybe occasionally Becket, Burnett and Cain hit 98.

Hard throwing aces average around 93 mph on their fastball. Matsuzaka's fastballs v. Cuba during the WBC registered mostly at 94 and mostly at 92 v. Mexico. On YouTube clips of Japanese games his fastball seems to sit at 148 kph (92 mph) and sometimes hit 153 kph (95 mph).

Basically, I think his fastball matches up pretty well with hard throwing MLB pitchers. btw, I've also seen people suggest that pitchers can't succeed with a high fastball. John Maine seemed to get by on little else despite not throwing as hard (he does also have a change up that he supposedly tends to tip off).

Lowest opponent BPS* v. Fastball (*BPS = avg + slg) min 251 batters faced

Zumaya       .514
Clemens      .518
Maine        .529
Pedro        .543
J. Cruz      .558
C. Zambrano  .565
Weaver Jr.   .576
Cain         .601
Kazmir       .610
Young        .612


Zumaya, Clemens, Maine, Pedro? Who doesn't belong?
   47. Raskolnikov Posted: November 25, 2006 at 06:39 AM (#2245398)

King Felix: 95.2
Verlander: 95.1
Beckett: 94.7
Penny: 93.9
Sabathia: 93.7
Cain: 93.4
Bonderman: 93.3
Escober: 93.1
Wang: 93.1
E. Santana: 93.1
J. Santana: 93.1
Snell: 92.8
Oswalt: 92.7
Smoltz: 92.7
Bedard: 92.6


Fascinating list, Cross. This is the type of data that I find fascinating - thank god for the BJ Handbook.

I had no idea that Sabathia threw that hard. That's a very good omen for his future.

I also would not have guessed that Wang and Escobar would be in the top 10 hardest throwers or that they would rank higher than Oswalt and Smoltz. Also would have figured that Schilling, Zambrano, Vasquez, and Harden would be on this list, especially Schilling and Zambrano.

Not a single slacker in the group, which bodes well for Ian Snell.

Fascinating stuff.
   48. J. Cross Posted: November 25, 2006 at 07:22 AM (#2245407)
I agree that this stuff is really interesting.

Carlos Zambrano came in 8th in the NL at 92.2 mph in 2006. He averaged 92.8 in 2005. Rich Harden hasn't had the IP to qualify.

Sabathia actually dropped a full mph from 94.7 in 2005 to 93.7 in 2006.

Bonderman was consistent, 93.2 in 2005, 93.3 in 2006.

Santana stepped up a small notch from 92.4 to 93.1.

In '05 Burnett averaged 95.6 but didn't have the innings to qualify in '06.

Beckett went up a tick from 93.5 to 94.7.

Oswalt went from 93.1 to 92.7.

Penny went from 92.7 to 93.9.

Smoltz from 92.3 to 92.7.
   49. Raskolnikov Posted: November 25, 2006 at 07:43 AM (#2245416)
The other big surprise for me is - how long has it been that the Big Unit ended his reign amongst the hardest throwing lefties in baseball?
   50. Walt Davis Posted: November 25, 2006 at 08:29 AM (#2245427)
your entry to the japanese market

To get what? Pretty much all revenue this would generate except for Japanese tourists coming over and buying Sox tix goes into the shared pool. Last I saw, the Sox weren't having a lot of trouble selling out.

the guy you want so badly you broke the bank just to talk to him

No, they only break the bank if they sign him, otherwise they get their money back. It's obvious that the $51 M bid means they think he's gonna be pretty damn good. But the opportunity to NOT spend $51 M is a pretty good incentive for the Sox to hold the line on salary demands especially if they have the same chance as everyone else to sign him next year.

Let me put it this way, we seem to have converged at a total cost to the Sox of around 5/$100 M. Does anyone seriously expect that Matsuzaka would get 5/$100 M if he was an FA? If he/Boras were to insist on 5/$65, the Sox would be morons not to walk away from the table (or work out some sort of concession with Seibu on the fee) and spend that $100+ M elsewhere. Note, I'm not holding them in very high esteem for having bid $51 M in the first place.

I haven't seen the movie yet, but how come we're not getting tons of Boras/Borat jokes?
   51. Darren Posted: November 25, 2006 at 02:37 PM (#2245469)

Let me put it this way, we seem to have converged at a total cost to the Sox of around 5/$100 M.


I think we've converged on him getting about 5/50ish if he were a FA right now. I don't know that that means they should give him that in addition to the 51 mil. It all depends on how much of that they think they can recoup in other ways (which again, I don't know).

Note, I'm not holding them in very high esteem for having bid $51 M in the first place.

Do you mean that they misread the market such that they overbid the Mets by $13 mil (reportedly)? If so, I guess I can see your point. If you mean that they bid so much that they can't possibly acquire him without overpaying, I disagree. Even if they have made him unaffordable for themselves, there's just very little downside to winning the bidding. They get to be the only ones who negotiate with him, and if they can't get a deal done, then too bad, he goes back to Japan. The alternative is that you possibly let the Yankees be in the position to make such a decision.
   52. Margo Adams FC Posted: November 25, 2006 at 04:59 PM (#2245553)
I think we've converged on him getting about 5/50ish if he were a FA right now


Count me out of this convergence, please. If DiceK were a true free agent the total contract value would be comfortably into nine figures, since he's widely seen as superior to Zito/Schmidt.
   53. Walt Davis Posted: November 25, 2006 at 09:14 PM (#2245681)
Count me out of this convergence, please. If DiceK were a true free agent the total contract value would be comfortably into nine figures, since he's widely seen as superior to Zito/Schmidt.

I agree he'd do much better than 5/$50 if he were a true FA. But I don't think he, or any other pitcher with the possible exception of Santana, would be seeing a $100 M contract, much less comfortably.

Two things:

1. I do believe that teams (and the insurance companies!) have learned their lessons with pitchers. We've seen slippage away from 3-4 years max with the Burnett and Oswalt contracts, but I still don't think you'll see pitchers getting more than 5-year contracts.

2. Top starting pitchers make less than top hitters (with the exception of freaky 1-year Clemens' contracts). The market has correctly understood that starters aren't as valuable as everyday players no matter how much teams might talk about the need for an ace, etc. Only one hitter makes more than $20 M a year (AROD) and that contract was signed a long time ago and "had" to be semi-dumped.

Zito will end up somewhere between 5/$70 and 5/$80. If Matsuzaka were a true FA, he'd end up around the same spot. If Santana was an FA, he might reach 9 figures because a team might be willing to gamble on giving him six years.
   54. Joe Bivens, Minor Genius Posted: November 25, 2006 at 09:51 PM (#2245694)
Ok, lookit. 4/32 is my final offer. And, I will guarantee he can wear #18.
   55. Joe Bivens, Minor Genius Posted: November 25, 2006 at 09:52 PM (#2245695)
Ok ok, 5/40. We'll give you the extra year. Now let's go.
   56. Darren Posted: November 25, 2006 at 10:22 PM (#2245713)
Bivens, remind me never to hire you to represent me. You're upping your offer from minute to minute without anything from the other side. You're getting closer to fair though.
   57. Joe Bivens, Minor Genius Posted: November 25, 2006 at 10:47 PM (#2245720)
Bivens, remind me never to hire you to represent me. You're upping your offer from minute to minute without anything from the other side.

How do you know what I'm getting from the other side?
   58. robinred Posted: November 25, 2006 at 10:54 PM (#2245723)
I haven't seen the movie yet, but how come we're not getting tons of Boras/Borat jokes?

I made one on the first big DM thread. Brattain hasn't yet, but I remain hopeful for jokingtime of batshitcrazy for make laughter the glorious website.
   59. Joe Bivens, Minor Genius Posted: November 25, 2006 at 10:59 PM (#2245725)
Then you're going to have to hope Guapo decides to post.
   60. bibigon Posted: November 25, 2006 at 11:06 PM (#2245730)
Walt, the other issue you're missing is that even if Matsuzaka costs the Red Sox $100M over five years, he doesn't cost them $100M in talent over five years, since they seem to be artificially committed to staying at the luxury tax level. The only cost to the Red Sox in terms of talent is Matsuzaka's salary, which counts against the tax - not the posting fee, which doesn't.


Zito will end up somewhere between 5/$70 and 5/$80. If Matsuzaka were a true FA, he'd end up around the same spot.


That's a ways different from the 5/$50M figure you quoted earlier. I think this lowballing it as well honestly, although maybe not. I just find it hard to believe that teams would only be willing to give Zito/Matsuzaka $4M/year more than Gary Matthews...
   61. Dr. Vaux Posted: November 25, 2006 at 11:14 PM (#2245731)
Especially since the Mets must have a top starter. So must the Yankees, though they unbelievably seem willing to go without one.
   62. Rough Carrigan Posted: November 25, 2006 at 11:52 PM (#2245742)
Maybe they thought they were going to capture Matsuzaka with their measly bid of 2.5 times the highest fee ever paid to this point in time. How could they not see that the Mets would bid 3 times that fee. And shame on the Red Sox for not precisely calibrating their bid to just beat those from other franchises which were multiples of the highest ever paid. Idiots.
   63. Dr. Vaux Posted: November 26, 2006 at 12:14 AM (#2245748)
I wasn't refering to that, but to the Yankees' lack of interest in Zito or Schmidt. Instead they seem to prefer dumpster diving for Meche and Lilly, because Jaret Wright has been such a good acquisition for them.
   64. Walt Davis Posted: November 26, 2006 at 09:24 AM (#2245902)
That's a ways different from the 5/$50M figure you quoted earlier.

I said he'd get 5/$70-80 if he was a true FA. He's not a true FA. I said I'd offer him something in the 5/$50 range in the situation he's in. Those two aren't contradictory.
   65. RobertMachemer Posted: November 26, 2006 at 09:34 AM (#2245903)
But the Red Sox don't have another Youkilis to plug in at 1B. And they're going to have a very hard time getting someone to replicate the offensive+defensive contribution of Lowell.
Well, as you note in a subsequent post, I'm not saying that the Sox end up better at first/third by trading Lowell. (They could be better, of course, but that's not what I'm worrying about). My aim is to use Lowell to improve elsewhere by more than the team would decline at first/third. Assuming limited resources, and given Hinske is on the roster and has no position (especially if the Sox acquire Drew), I see no reason not to trade Lowell for equivalent value at other positions, fill in Youkilis at third and Hinske/platoon partner at first, and use any money saved on Lowell to also improve the team. I don't think the Sox will be better at first/third this way than they would be by keeping Lowell (though I don't think they'll be a ton worse either since I lean towards predicting Lowell to decline both offensively and defensively this season), but I think the decline at first/third could easily be outweighed by the improvement elsewhere.
   66. IronChef Chris Wok Posted: November 26, 2006 at 11:02 AM (#2245909)
Matsuzaka got a huge farewell party from Seibu at their home stadium last week. They had him throw out one last ceremonial pitch, and he nearly beaned Wada. Then Wada charged the mound with the rest of the team. Then they held Matsuzaka in their arms like a hero.
   67. Gaelan Posted: November 26, 2006 at 11:46 AM (#2245913)
The Red Sox should pay DM what they believe he's worth as a baseball player. The $51 million should not factor into their salary decisions. That's how much the potential of getting into the Japanese market is worth to them.


I couldn't disagree with this more. The Red Sox will take whatever they would pay for him as a free agent and they will subtract 51 million.

It's extremely irrational to suggest that the 51 million won't factor into their salary decision since they only have to pay it if they sign him.
   68. CFiJ Posted: November 26, 2006 at 01:24 PM (#2245915)
Matsuzaka got a huge farewell party from Seibu at their home stadium last week. They had him throw out one last ceremonial pitch, and he nearly beaned Wada. Then Wada charged the mound with the rest of the team. Then they held Matsuzaka in their arms like a hero.

It was Fan Appreciation Day. His teammates threw him up in the air three times, like they do with championship managers and retiring stars. There was also a tearful farewell speech to the fans. Matsuzaka's not coming back.
   69. IronChef Chris Wok Posted: November 26, 2006 at 02:52 PM (#2245926)
It was Fan Appreciation Day. His teammates threw him up in the air three times, like they do with championship managers and retiring stars. There was also a tearful farewell speech to the fans. Matsuzaka's not coming back.

It would be kind of funny if he did though. It would be like the most awkward thing ever. And I'd laugh.
   70. RollingWave Posted: November 27, 2006 at 06:58 AM (#2246336)
A few things.

It's going to be awfully hard to lowball Matsuzaka with Boras representing him. and yes, the Red Sox does have something to lose if negotiation falls through, aside from that the Mets would get to negotiate with him if MLB deemd them to negotiate on bad faith, what's more is that they had just made a total joke of themself and severly damanged their FO creditbility/respectabiltiy.
those things do count in the long run, one way or another, for example the Mariner / Giants are getting shut out on all cylinders this off season because they are viewed as losers. being viewed a dishonest busniessmens might hurt even more than being viewed as losers.

I would venture to guess that at the very very least it will take 9M per to sign him, and that is if they sign it short so Matz has a chance to challenge the market again soon. and this would make 0 sense on Boston's part.

Also, for those thinking that Boston has control over him for 6 years, you might want to read Hideki Matsui's contract
contract included clause requiring Yankees to sign Matsui to an extension by Nov. 11, 2005, or release him (effectively granting Matsui free agency after 3 years)


If Matsuzaka signs a deal of less than 5 to 6 years this line is almost surely going to get in there as well, and it is effectively an out claus, say if Boston tries to lowball a 2/16 and this claus is in it, then he is effectively a FA after 2 year. with no abosalute guarentee that he can be retained. though maybe this would work out best for both sides, for Boston it somewhat reduce the risk of Matsuzaka bombing and at least give him 2 years at a relative discount. for Matsuzaka this gives him a chance to get max money after 2 years, should Boston not be willing to sign Matsuzaka to a full FA price, this might be the end result.

As for comps, i think it really is difficult, at best you should just try to view from a stuff and make up prespective and find comparables. and Matsuzaka's good fastball / great control / effective array of secondaries does seem to most correlates for the couple of near hall of famers like Mussina / Schilling / Cones ... of course rather or not that can really translate is up in the air.
   71. Russlan is fond of Dillon Gee Posted: November 27, 2006 at 07:08 AM (#2246340)
Per the Boston Herald:

http://redsox.bostonherald.com/redSox/view.bg?articleid=169222

According to sources, the Sox’ initial proposal was roughly half of what the pitcher’s agent, Scott Boras, proposed. The most likely scenario is that the Sox proposed somewhere in the neighborhood of $7-8 million annually and Boras came in at roughly $15 million.


I have to say I'm fascinated to find out how this plays out.
   72. J. Cross Posted: November 27, 2006 at 07:21 AM (#2246343)
my WAG:

The Red Sox have offered $7.5M per and Boras has asked for $15M per.

The Red Sox are willing to go at least $9M x 5 (to spend a total of about $95M over 5 years including the posting fee). Boras is willing to accept $11M x 5 or more.

I can still see this falling apart if neither team budges. I'd think that Matsuzaka really wants to make this happen and I suspect that he doesn't want to go back to Japan after all of this. I hope that he puts pressure on Boras to get this done and if that's the case I think we'll see something just north of $9M x 5.
   73. IronChef Chris Wok Posted: November 27, 2006 at 07:22 AM (#2246344)
It's going to be awfully hard to lowball Matsuzaka with Boras representing him. and yes, the Red Sox does have something to lose if negotiation falls through, aside from that the Mets would get to negotiate with him if MLB deemd them to negotiate on bad faith, what's more is that they had just made a total joke of themself and severly damanged their FO creditbility/respectabiltiy.

This bad faith thing is frakking BS. "Not giving whatever SCott Boras wants" does not constitute as bad faith.

The Red Sox FO hasn't had credibility and respectability in a billion years now. That I'm just not concerned about.
   74. Russlan is fond of Dillon Gee Posted: November 27, 2006 at 07:50 AM (#2246346)
My WAG:

5y/65m.
   75. IronChef Chris Wok Posted: November 27, 2006 at 08:05 AM (#2246352)
Is anybody going to use CFBPS?
   76. Gaelan Posted: November 27, 2006 at 01:58 PM (#2246378)
The one thing I'm 100% sure is that Selig won't invoke the bad faith clause. If that Boston Herald report is correct the Red Sox have already made a legitimate offer. An asteroid will destroy Boston before Selig invokes the bad faith clause.
   77. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: November 27, 2006 at 02:11 PM (#2246383)
Is anybody going to use CFBPS?
I've been spending a bunch of time this winter tweaking CFBPS. It failed to predict Byung-Hyun Kim's unprecedented Cy Young season, which led to baseball writers preemptively awarding him the next two Cy Young awards as well, plus a seat in Congress. CFBPS missed this, and I've been poring over the code, and I may be forced to rebuild it from the ground up. I think the best time for a CFBPS thread will be in February or so, when it's up and running on my new paradigm.

The old system projects Matsuzaka to 22-4, 2.37. He narrowly loses the Cy Young award to Jonathan Papelbon, though.
   78. Joe Bivens, Minor Genius Posted: November 28, 2006 at 01:02 AM (#2246892)
Say sayonara to Matsuzaka.
   79. Rough Carrigan Posted: November 28, 2006 at 02:07 AM (#2246941)
FWIW, Olney was just interviewed on NESN and said he had talked to other teams who had bid on the rights to Matsuzaka and that they all said they would have made the same first offer reported in the Herald.

He said that Boras is trying to create leverage by asking for an unrealistic sum at the start of negotiations. But, when asked by the NESN interviewer, he said he fully expects a deal to be struck.
   80. Darren Posted: November 28, 2006 at 03:18 AM (#2246998)
His blog also says that he thinks even the alleged offer was good enough to elimimate the possibility of the good faith clause being invoked.
   81. Russlan is fond of Dillon Gee Posted: November 28, 2006 at 07:15 AM (#2247171)

There was no indication that Matsuzaka's agent, Scott Boras, was also in Japan, so Lucchino might be talking more to the Seibu Lions than to Matsuzaka. It could be that the Red Sox will ask Seibu to kick in a portion of the $51.11 million posting fee in order to get a deal done. After all, the team probably wasn't expecting more than $30 million before the process started. If the Lions were willing to pay Matsuzaka $2 million-$3 million per year or some sort of lump sum to accept the deal, it'd make things quite a bit easier on the Red Sox. The Lions have incentive, as they'd get nothing if Matsuzaka and the Red Sox failed to come to an agreement


If the Red Sox are actually asking the Lions for some of the bid money back, that seems awfully unethical to me. That is an odd way to have a silent auction. Would the Mets or other teams make different bids using this logic? Of course, I am assuming that the Mets/other teams didn't know or think of this already. Still, seems a bit sneaky to me.
   82. 1k5v3L Posted: December 01, 2006 at 06:49 AM (#2248879)
rotoworld:

The Boston Globe says agent Scott Boras is looking to get Daisuke Matsuzaka a six-year deal worth $12 million per season.

This is the complete opposite of everything that was heard even before the bidding was complete. Boras was supposed to try for a three- or maybe even a two-year deal with a clause that would make Matsuzaka a free agent at the end of the contract. If the price is really $72 million for six years, the Red Sox might as well jump on it. Sure, Matsuzaka is at risk for arm problems, but we figure he's just as good of a bet for his age 29-31 seasons as he is from 26-28.
Source: Boston Globe
   83. Darren Posted: December 02, 2006 at 11:26 PM (#2250231)
six years for a pitcher is silly. 5 years, $50 mil is as high as I'd go. That's essentially $3 mil a year for the next two years (which is what he'd get in Japan) + 3/$46 after that. A very good deal for Matsuzaka.
   84. chris p Posted: December 03, 2006 at 05:43 AM (#2250425)
six years, 12 million per? i like!

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