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Sunday, December 10, 2006

Boston Herald: Sox’ talks with Matsuzaka break down

Damn…just as Schilling was learning to pronounce ookiosewada!

Negotiations between the Red Sox and Japanese pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka have essentially broken down, a source familiar with the talks said late last night, adding that unless there is an abrupt change of course, Matsuzaka will not be signing with the Red Sox before Thursday’s midnight deadline.

Attempts to reach Matsuzaka’s agent, Scott Boras, were unsuccessful last night. However, the well-placed source blamed Boras for stubbornly being unable to get over the flaws in the Japanese posting system, saying that he has been unwilling to negotiate and that he has acted disinterested in even making a deal.

Repoz Posted: December 10, 2006 at 02:12 PM | 464 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: international, japan, red sox

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   1. The Original Gary Posted: December 10, 2006 at 02:28 PM (#2257011)
Ore kirai Scott Boras.
   2. A Day In the Park Posted: December 10, 2006 at 02:32 PM (#2257014)
My take on this:

This deal HAS to happen because Japan will be f#$@in pissed if they don't get that $51 million.

If it comes down to the eleventh hour (which it will), the Emporor of Japan, himself, will call Boras and tell him to accept a deal.

See, the Red Sox knew this. They knew with exclusive negotiating rights, they could offer $8 million a year for five years...making Dice-K's contract a 5 year, $91,111,111 deal--which is RIGHT IN LINE with today's market. And they knew there was nothing Boras can do about it.

It's as simple as this: Dice-K want's to pitch in America, Japan wants Dice-K to pitch in a America, and the Red Sox are offering $90+ million for him to do it. Sorry Scott--you can't stop this one.

It'll happen.
   3. Toby Posted: December 10, 2006 at 02:38 PM (#2257015)
I hope Boras continues to refuse to negotiate, the deadline passes, Boras/D-Mat sues to overturn the posting system, and the Red Sox, Seibu, and MLB counter-sue Boras/D-Mat for failure to negotiate in good faith.

That would be the best Christmas ever.
   4. canonical paths Posted: December 10, 2006 at 02:40 PM (#2257016)
It is believed that the Red Sox’ initial offer was for somewhere between $7 million and $8 million a year for between four to six years, while Boras was asking for approximately $15 million a year. It is unclear if counterproposals have been exchanged yet but if they have, the source told the Herald last night that neither side has made a significant move toward a common ground.


Let's see, the maximum offer from the Red Sox is $48 million over 6 years, but they think his true value is closer to $100 million over 6 years. What's the incentive for Matsusaka to take this? Pride? Why not wait a year or two and take the $80 million or so at that point? Is your pride worth $35 million dollars?
   5. IronChef Chris Wok Posted: December 10, 2006 at 02:40 PM (#2257017)
Bakayaros. Everybody.
   6. Margo Adams FC Posted: December 10, 2006 at 02:41 PM (#2257018)
Hmmm, which source of Silverman's with knowledge of the talks would rush to stick it to Boras? Puhleese, pretty please Lucky, take the meds and stay away from the phone for a few days. Don't actively help this cause the way you "helped" the ARod talks. Theo and Scott will work something out just as soon as you shut up.
   7. IronChef Chris Wok Posted: December 10, 2006 at 02:51 PM (#2257019)
Let's see, the maximum offer from the Red Sox is $48 million over 6 years, but they think his true value is closer to $100 million over 6 years. What's the incentive for Matsusaka to take this? Pride? Why not wait a year or two and take the $80 million or so at that point? Is your pride worth $35 million dollars?

"Arm health" would be a good one.

If Matsuzaka goes back to Seibu, Seibu KNOWS He'll walk the next year, so there will be ZERO incentive for them to keep Matsuzaka healthy. They'll send him out for 160 pitch games every 4 days because they know thye'll never get Matsuzaka again.
   8. TVerik - Dr. Velocity Posted: December 10, 2006 at 02:59 PM (#2257022)
If Matsuzaka goes back to Seibu, Seibu KNOWS He'll walk the next year, so there will be ZERO incentive for them to keep Matsuzaka healthy. They'll send him out for 160 pitch games every 4 days because they know thye'll never get Matsuzaka again.

This argument could be made for every club facing a FA pitcher they couldn't keep. Why didn't the A's pillage Zito? The Marlins have (and have had) any number of pitchers that were certainly gone after a period of time.
   9. Eraser-X is emphatically dominating teh site!!! Posted: December 10, 2006 at 03:00 PM (#2257023)
Ore kirai Scott Boras.


Your verb form comes last.

Or in polite grammar:

Ore-wa Scott Boras-ga kirai desu.

Let's see, the Red Sox are offering half of his marketvalue and Boras is negotiating in bad faith? How does that make any sense?
   10. Jack Sommers Posted: December 10, 2006 at 03:02 PM (#2257025)
That would have been my response too Wok. (More or less)

I just wonder how much HE is worried about getting hurt the next couple of years. He won't be a free agent till May of 2008, right? So the earliest he can be in the majors is when? (Sorry, I have not followed every Dice thread in detail) Can he be signed by ANY team during the season, May of 2008? Or do teams have to wait until the end of 2008 to start bidding for his services?
   11. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: December 10, 2006 at 03:02 PM (#2257026)
It'll work out. This still looks like brinksmanship from classically assholic negotiators.

If the Sox fail to get him - whether because of their own stubbornness or Boras' - it'll be almost certainly a massive miscalculation, a practically blown offseason. The Sox would have to push hard for either Zito or Clemens if they expect to get similar production to what they were expecting from Matsuzaka, and that's not particularly likely, or, in the case of Zito, likely to be particularly cheaper than Matsuzaka. And Matsuzaka's already done his farewell tour of NPB, and willingly gave up some possible future moneys to pitch in America sooner, so I really don't buy all the claims that he'll change his mind and return to NPB for a year and a half.

The logic of the situation still dictates that he wants to sign and that the Sox will sign him.
   12. Mudpout Posted: December 10, 2006 at 03:02 PM (#2257027)
The implications on what this could mean to Boras as an agent are also interesting. It's possible that refusing the Sox offer, and sending Matsuzaka back to Japan for a couple years, would cost him severly in the market of Japanese players that seems to be now becoming a potentially very lucrative market. One could argue that he has enough of a hold on the American market, and feels he can afford to pass up the Japanese market. However, his bargaining tactics, which always seem to come down to the player and team seemingly wanting a deal, yet the agent being the odd and deciding man out, he doesn't seem to feel he could pass up a 20-cent coupon on no-name orange juice, or the last two drops out of a lemon.
   13. E., Hinske Posted: December 10, 2006 at 03:03 PM (#2257028)
Boras has chafed from the beginning about the inequities of this system and has hinted repeatedly that the process will end either in Matsuzaka signing with the Red Sox or with Matsuzaka declining and having to go back to Japan.


Dumbest sentence I've seen in a while.

I'm utterly unsurprised by this development. I take it that the internets is available in Japan and no doubt Seibu is following what's going on.
   14. TVerik - Dr. Velocity Posted: December 10, 2006 at 03:04 PM (#2257030)
On the field, if this deal falls through, the Sox don't get a very good pitcher. Does this doom them to third place again? I don't think so, but nor does that team - as composed today - particularly have the division winner look to them.

If they turn around and spend that money on Zito, I think it actually works out better for them. I like Zito in the 2007 AL East more so than Matsuzaka anyway.
   15. Dash Carlyle Posted: December 10, 2006 at 03:07 PM (#2257031)
“For that system to operate,” [Boras] said, “there has to be participation among all the parties and if the situation is looked at in one direction or selfishly by any of the parties, then it’s not going to work.” [emphasis added]

By using "all" and "any" instead of "either," it seems obvious that Boras is telling Seibu to kick back some of the posting fee to his client. And if it's at all possible, they probably should, else they'll lose $50 million.


If they turn around and spend that money on Zito, I think it actually works out better for them. I like Zito in the 2007 AL East more so than Matsuzaka anyway.

Really? I think that's insane in the membrane.
   16. TVerik - Dr. Velocity Posted: December 10, 2006 at 03:09 PM (#2257032)
It'll work out. This still looks like brinksmanship from classically assholic negotiators.

MCoA, I don't mean offense by this, but your posts on this subject seem to have gone from convincing others to convincing yourself.

Do you feel that this story is not negative re: the deal? Other than the negotiators going on the record about this, what news would discourage you?
   17. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: December 10, 2006 at 03:09 PM (#2257033)
The Herald reported this $8M/$15M split about two weeks ago. The Globe has since reported that Boras' demands are actually ~$12M per. This situation appears to be, like the Theo negotiations of last year, a great chance for the Globe and Herald to fight it out. I think they actively try to report differently, when at all possible.
   18. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: December 10, 2006 at 03:12 PM (#2257034)
Do you feel that this story is not negative re: the deal? Other than the negotiators going on the record about this, what news would discourage you?
That's about it. This deal makes way, way too much sense for both the Red Sox and Matsuzaka. This article is the first one that's shaken my faith at all.

Basically, I believe too highly in the competence - not genius, simple competence - of the Red Sox to think that they'd have screwed up their offseason over this.
   19. TVerik - Dr. Velocity Posted: December 10, 2006 at 03:15 PM (#2257035)
However, the well-placed source blamed Boras for stubbornly being unable to get over the flaws in the Japanese posting system, saying that he has been unwilling to negotiate and that he has acted disinterested in even making a deal.

This source... Curt Schilling.
   20. Raskolnikov Posted: December 10, 2006 at 03:23 PM (#2257037)

By using "all" and "any" instead of "either," it seems obvious that Boras is telling Seibu to kick back some of the posting fee to his client. And if it's at all possible, they probably should, else they'll lose $50 million.


As we've argued before, Seibu can't. Doing so would set a precedent which will effectively kill the posting system.

That lawsuit against the posting system by Boras sounds like a realistic possibility.
   21. TVerik - Dr. Velocity Posted: December 10, 2006 at 03:25 PM (#2257040)
I'll bet you that the quote in #15 has been mapped to the "F1" key on Boras' laptop as a boilerplate response to the press regarding negotiations. I don't think that overly parsing and interpreting a bland vanilla statement like that is fruitful.
   22. IronChef Chris Wok Posted: December 10, 2006 at 03:28 PM (#2257042)
This argument could be made for every club facing a FA pitcher they couldn't keep. Why didn't the A's pillage Zito? The Marlins have (and have had) any number of pitchers that were certainly gone after a period of time.


The Itoh-san defense: All the cool managers are abusing their young pitchers too. Baker-san is cool... right?
   23. TVerik - Dr. Velocity Posted: December 10, 2006 at 03:33 PM (#2257043)
Judge Itoh?
   24. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: December 10, 2006 at 03:35 PM (#2257046)
Of course, the Phillies probably figured the same thing....They could just tell him "Look, man. We're tapped out We just spent a ton of loot on one of your other clients. Does your client JD Drew want the dough or not? Otherwise, he can rot in Japan St. Paul for another year or two. Goo luck trying to get him a long term contract then." I think you guys are generally underrating Boras' willing to bite off his client's nose to spite their face
   25. IronChef Chris Wok Posted: December 10, 2006 at 03:38 PM (#2257048)
Judge Itoh?

Itoh is the long-time Seibu no-hit all-glove catcher for the Lions who recently became their manager.
   26. TVerik - Dr. Velocity Posted: December 10, 2006 at 03:44 PM (#2257052)
You didn't answer my question. Did this catcher preside over the OJ Simpson trial in Cali?
   27. Darren Posted: December 10, 2006 at 03:48 PM (#2257056)
Well, the sure do make the offseason interesting. I wonder if it's a concerted effort to keep their fans rabid while there's no games going on.
   28. Rally Posted: December 10, 2006 at 03:48 PM (#2257057)
If it comes down to the eleventh hour (which it will), the Emporor of Japan, himself, will call Boras and tell him to accept a deal.

That's a ceremonial position. Boras outranks the emporer of Japan.

See, the Red Sox knew this. They knew with exclusive negotiating rights, they could offer $8 million a year for five years...making Dice-K's contract a 5 year, $91,111,111 deal--which is RIGHT IN LINE with today's market. And they knew there was nothing Boras can do about it. </i>

Yeah, that's right in line from the team's point of view. But Dice-K is woefully underpaid on his end. He's making less $ per year than Gopher Marquis for Crom's sake.

Red Sox need to up their offer to THE PITCHER or they deserve to lose his rights. Dice-K will be fine if he has to wait a year, or maybe once 12/14 passes Boras can buy his rights fromSeibu and make him a full free agent.

And if what's reported is true, and Boras has come down from 15 to 12 while the Red Sox won't budge from 8, that tells you who is negotiating in bad faith.
   29. IronChef Chris Wok Posted: December 10, 2006 at 03:53 PM (#2257060)
Why should Matsuzaka be given a free agnet pitcher's salary when he's NOT A FREE AGENT???

We're TRIPLING his Japanese salary!
   30. MSI Posted: December 10, 2006 at 03:57 PM (#2257065)
Red Sox are building leverage against Boras. He has none.

Unfair that salary he'll get would be smaller just because of the posting fee, it should be included in luxury tax.
   31. Swedish Chef Posted: December 10, 2006 at 03:58 PM (#2257066)
Why should Matsuzaka be given a free agnet pitcher's salary when he's NOT A FREE AGENT???

Because he's got your balls in a vise?
   32. IronChef Chris Wok Posted: December 10, 2006 at 03:59 PM (#2257067)
Frak, I'm trying to have a discussion about this on the Taiwanese boards.

Of course, it's the usual 'why are you posting in English" krap... "You like the White dick!"

Frakking idiots. Everybody HERE knwos I hate you pale-skinned people.
   33. Greg Maddux School of Reflexive Profanity Posted: December 10, 2006 at 04:02 PM (#2257071)
I think you guys are generally underrating Boras' willing to bite off his client's nose to spite their face

I'd like somebody to bite off my nose to the tune of $40-60MM more.
   34. baudib Posted: December 10, 2006 at 04:10 PM (#2257073)
Boras is awesome. Go, Scotty, go!
   35. Sam M. Posted: December 10, 2006 at 04:27 PM (#2257084)
As we've argued before, Seibu can't. Doing so would set a precedent which will effectively kill the posting system.

That wouldn't kill the posting system; inflation and the value of a player like Matsuzaka has already killed it. Boras's insistence on his player getting a reasonable share of his true value (meaning Seibu has to kick back some of the ridiculous share it would get it if keeps the full $51M) is merely burying it.

The posting system simply doesn't work when it can lock up this much of a player's immense value in the posting team's vault. No competent agent would stand for it, and Boras isn't going to. He is going to put Seibu's own massive incentive to work for Matsuzaka's benefit -- as he should. This brinksmanship is NOT between Boston and Matsuzaka; it is between them, together, and Seibu.

Nor, I think, will the kickback that WILL happen (if a deal happens at all) set that big a precedent -- at least not for the normal run of cases. Even in this era, the posting system should not operate as a substantial impediment to a deal. Only when the bid is so large that it gives a player an incentive in the tens of millions of dollars NOT to sign in the U.S. will it be necessary for the Japanese team to make some accommodation. And it didn't help that in this case the Red Sox bid was $12 frigging million over the next highest bid, that's for sure.
   36. E., Hinske Posted: December 10, 2006 at 04:27 PM (#2257085)
And if what's reported is true, and Boras has come down from 15 to 12 while the Red Sox won't budge from 8, that tells you who is negotiating in bad faith.


No it doesn't. If the Red Sox had started at $1MM and moved up to $3MM, would that indicate that they're bargaining in good faith?
   37. Swedish Chef Posted: December 10, 2006 at 04:30 PM (#2257086)
Any deal which would pay Meche more than Matsuzaka for their prime years would be a crime against humanity.
   38. . . . . . . Posted: December 10, 2006 at 04:31 PM (#2257087)
Does Matsuzaka have the ability to buy insurance against injury? If so, that affects the risk he assumes going back to Japan for a season-and-a-month
   39. TVerik - Dr. Velocity Posted: December 10, 2006 at 04:33 PM (#2257088)
Am I completely alone here? If I could sign either Zito or Matsuzaka to play on my team for 2007 only - no marketing deals, no posting fees, no luxury tax implications - for the same price, I would take Zito without too much pondering.
   40. Margo Adams FC Posted: December 10, 2006 at 04:35 PM (#2257090)
I'd take Matsuzaka in an eyeblink.
   41. TVerik - Dr. Velocity Posted: December 10, 2006 at 04:35 PM (#2257091)
"My team" in that example is either the Yankees or the Red Sox. I'm a big believer in the ability of pitchers to suddenly suck upon virginally pitching in the AL every fifth day.
   42. Sam M. Posted: December 10, 2006 at 04:37 PM (#2257094)
If I could sign either Zito or Matsuzaka to play on my team for 2007 only - no marketing deals, no posting fees, no luxury tax implications - for the same price, I would take Zito without too much pondering.

Depends. Do you want to roll the dice (no pun intended) on the possibility you're getting someone to rival Santana as the best pitcher in the league? Matsuzaka MIGHT be that; Zito won't. But Zito is a more known quantity, and you can probably take his solid numbers to the bank.

I'd roll the dice.
   43. Inquisitor Posted: December 10, 2006 at 04:41 PM (#2257095)
IIRC, professional athlete insurance almost died out a few years ago. Nowadays the best you can hope for is a high-priced, low-benefits, strict-liability, short-term plan. Insurers won't touch 3+ year contracts anymore. Of course, in Matsuzaka's case, it might be worth it. I'm not sure any insurance company, Japanese or otherwise, would go near a Japanese pitching arm, however.
   44. TVerik - Dr. Velocity Posted: December 10, 2006 at 04:43 PM (#2257096)
Didn't Matt Leinert get a one-year plan in case of catastrophic injury last year, enabling him to go back to school rather than going right to the NFL?
   45. Raskolnikov Posted: December 10, 2006 at 04:47 PM (#2257097)
Nor, I think, will the kickback that WILL happen (if a deal happens at all) set that big a precedent -- at least not for the normal run of cases. Even in this era, the posting system should not operate as a substantial impediment to a deal. Only when the bid is so large that it gives a player an incentive in the tens of millions of dollars NOT to sign in the U.S. will it be necessary for the Japanese team to make some accommodation. And it didn't help that in this case the Red Sox bid was $12 frigging million over the next highest bid, that's for sure.

I'm not quite sure what you're arguing, Sam. Yes, the posting system is ill-suited for extremely talented players. It can still work, and I'm sure that NPB would want to see it still work.

What I'm saying is that the blind bid is for the negotiating rights. It can't be then finagled so that the selling team Seibu has to kick back money to the free agent. Otherwise, that compromises the bidding process itself.

The Yankees are probably holding Hanshin and Igawa hostage to demonstrate exactly this principle. What if the Yankees now retract and state that they're only willing to offer a 4yr/10M dollar contract and that Hanshin has to kick back 15M of its bid fee to make the contract palatable to Igawa. Hanshin would not do that. The Yankees are perfectly fine with Igawa going back to Japan. Igawa loses any chance to play in the US. Everyone gets screwed.

Basically, the Red Sox have to be serious about wanting D-Mat. I think they should be offering market prices (>10M), since D-Mat is widely seen to be one of the top 3 FAs in this offseason. The initial bid has never been considered part of the player's salary and should not be factored into the negotiations. The Red Sox should have accounted for this when they put in their bid. Otherwise, it compromises the integrity of the bidding season (and I'm also certain that the Yankees will demonstrate such a flaw repeatedly over the next several posts to demonstrate this point.)
   46. Sam M. Posted: December 10, 2006 at 04:47 PM (#2257098)
Didn't Matt Leinert get a one-year plan in case of catastrophic injury last year, enabling him to go back to school rather than going right to the NFL?

Of possibly more significance, Michael Bush (the Louisville RB) bought a similar policy before this season . . . in which he suffered a bad broken leg in the first game against Kentucky. Talk about prescient. He's expected to recover, and resume playing, but still . . . .
   47. We don't have dahlians at the Palace of Wisdom Posted: December 10, 2006 at 04:48 PM (#2257099)
Why should Matsuzaka be given a free agnet pitcher's salary when he's NOT A FREE AGENT???

Well, then Matsuzaka should take below free market value for his first season ($8 millionish) and then near-free market value ($13 million plus, and that's being generous to the Red Sox) for his other free agent years. If the Sox front office is so against paying free agent prices for free agent years, I'm sure Boras would be willing to take a one year 8 million dollars contract.

It's not Boras' fault the Red Sox ###### up the bidding process and offered $20 million more than they had to knowing that if would impact the amount they would offer in contract negotiations. Perhaps it was just a shrewd move to keep Matsuzaka from the Yankees, but if so don't ##### and complain about Boras when your free agent savior doesn't get signed.
   48. this space for rent Posted: December 10, 2006 at 04:56 PM (#2257101)
Red Sox are building leverage against Boras. He has none.

Sure he does, assuming he remains Matsuzaka's agent no matter what comes of this - and Matsuzaka has leverage whether or not he sticks with Boras.

Matsuzaka can simply stay in Japan, play two more years, and then come to the U.S. as a full free agent and cash in a huge contract. If Gil Meche can get $11M/year for 5 years, what is Matsuzaka actually likely to get? $20M/year? More? If so, why should he take $8M/year from the Red Sox, which nets him an extra $10M total over the first two years and then might cost him $12M+ per year for the remainder of the deal (and a guarantee that he'll make that $20M+/year for the following year)?

The real problem is the massive posting fee. What Matsuzaka is asking for appears to be in the ballpark of what the Red Sox are offering to pay - but the latter includes the posting fee, while the former does not. By making sure they bid enough for negotiating rights with Matsuzaka, the Red Sox may have ensured that those negotiations would be fruitless.

It seems like there should be a better system to handle this. Franky, the easiest one is probably what AROM suggested: let Matsuzaka/Boras buy out Seibu and become a full-fledged free agent able to sign with any team.
   49. IronChef Chris Wok Posted: December 10, 2006 at 04:57 PM (#2257103)
Well, then Matsuzaka should take below free market value for his first season ($8 millionish) and then near-free market value ($13 million plus, and that's being generous to the Red Sox) for his other free agent years. If the Sox front office is so against paying free agent prices for free agent years, I'm sure Boras would be willing to take a one year 8 million dollars contract.


Yeah, but when you win a bid, you have the player's rights for SIX YEARS. When you pay all this money for a bid, it means the player is automaticaly under your control for 6 years.

Maybe they can modify the posting system to include an automatic % of the bid going to the player. All this krap would go away.
   50. this space for rent Posted: December 10, 2006 at 05:00 PM (#2257105)
Franky, the easiest one is probably what AROM suggested: let Matsuzaka/Boras buy out Seibu and become a full-fledged free agent able to sign with any team.

Which is functionally indistinguishable from negotiating a kickback of part of the original posting fee, I should add.
   51. Miko Supports Shane's Spam Habit Posted: December 10, 2006 at 05:01 PM (#2257106)
I often think Boras clients will fail to land the deals Boras says they will, yet they always see to come close (at least). E.g., Ivan Rodriguez.

Maybe there will be base deal that guarantees $8-10 million/yr but has incentives or vesting options that can push it to $12-15 million/yr.
   52. Sam M. Posted: December 10, 2006 at 05:03 PM (#2257108)
What I'm saying is that the blind bid is for the negotiating rights. It can't be then finagled so that the selling team Seibu has to kick back money to the free agent. Otherwise, that compromises the bidding process itself. . . .

It doesn't compromise the bidding process if everyone comes to understand that it's part of the process. And frankly, unless they were naive in the ways of Scott Boras, everyone should have understood that with bids at that level, it was going to HAVE to be part of this process.

I think they should be offering market prices (>10M), since D-Mat is widely seen to be one of the top 3 FAs in this offseason. The initial bid has never been considered part of the player's salary and should not be factored into the negotiations.

But the situation has changed radically since Ichiro's day. When the bids enter the stratosphere as they did with Matsuzaka, and when the agent is Boras, that pile of money IS going to enter into the negotiations. Period. You can howl about that all you want, but you are trying to hold back the tide here. There is too much money at stake, and the parties have too much incentive, not to do what you are insisting they NOT do. Seibu is holding too much money hostage -- and both Matsuzaka/Boras and the Red Sox know they are desperate to get at it, and they have too much incentive to force Seibu's hand in kicking some of it in -- to not have it play out this way.

It won't be called a kickback, of course. It'll be a brand new deal between Seibu and Matsuzaka to forge a continuing relationship going forward, for things he agrees to do in the off-season. They value, greatly, the special ties they have always had, and wish to continue to foster, even as they send him off to conquer the U.S. and the major leagues. And everyone will be happy.
   53. Best Regards, President of Comfort, Esq., LLC Posted: December 10, 2006 at 05:05 PM (#2257110)
If I'm not mistaken, Seibu can post Matsuzaka again next offseason, and you know the Yankees will bid at least $55 million if that happens, and if the Red Sox want to block them again, they'll probably bid $60-70 million. So Seibu has a lot of incentive to not agree to a kickback. And Matsuzaka, knowing that he'll be a free agent a year from May, has a lot of incentive to not agree to a below-market contract, particularly one this far below market value (the open market value for Matsuzaka this offseason would probably be $16-17 million, at least).

Boston should step up and give Matsuzaka the $12 million.
   54. Sam M. Posted: December 10, 2006 at 05:07 PM (#2257111)
Matsuzaka can simply stay in Japan, play two more years, and then come to the U.S. as a full free agent and cash in a huge contract.

It is this threat that makes it certain Seibu WILL kick in whatever it takes to get a deal done. They need that posting fee, or as much of it as they can retain. The last thing they want is to have Matsuzaka return and lose him for nothing. IOW, they want Matsuzaka to be Mulder and Hudson, NOT Zito. That is why all the leverage is with the Red Sox and Boras/Matsuzaka, and none of it is with Seibu.
   55. TVerik - Dr. Velocity Posted: December 10, 2006 at 05:07 PM (#2257112)
Masuzaka will be greeted as a liberator!!!!
   56. Sam M. Posted: December 10, 2006 at 05:16 PM (#2257116)
If I'm not mistaken, Seibu can post Matsuzaka again next offseason, and you know the Yankees will bid at least $55 million if that happens, and if the Red Sox want to block them again, they'll probably bid $60-70 million.

But I thought he could come over as a true FA midway through the 2008 season? Why would he agree to be posted and let Seibu keep $40-60M of his value and screw things up again? He'd just pull a Clemens and join a team in June 2008. I think this is Seibu's one shot.
   57. . . . . . . Posted: December 10, 2006 at 05:16 PM (#2257117)
"Stanley said college football players like Willis must be considered potential first- through third-round selections in the NFL Draft to qualify for insurance. Willis, who was projected as a third-round draft pick, qualified for the program because he figures to be a high pick if he stays healthy and turns in a strong season at Ole Miss.

Stanley said the premium owed is roughly one to two percent of the entire policy, but Willis doesn't have to pay money up front. Athletes who qualify can set up loans through another company employed by the NCAA, which doesn't require payment until the insurance policy expires or a pro contract is signed.

The NCAA insurance program caps out at $3 million for football, but if athletes qualify for a higher amount, HCC can secure more money outside the NCAA program. Other private companies have issued insurance policies for as much as $10 million.

Keith Lerner, who has issued policies to athletes since 1988 with his Gainesville, Fla.-based company, Total Planning Sports Services, said insurance policies are like a first step "into the realm of professionalism" for athletes. With salaries continuing to soar, Lerner said it's important for high-profile athletes to secure as much insurance as possible.

"It's like having life insurance," Willis said.

"If a guy dies today, he knows his family is going to be all right. I know my family is going to be all right, too."


If this is true, I will bet anything that Matsuzaka could take out ~$60 million of insurance for $6 million or less, because a pitcher's injury risk isn't that much more than a running back. Dice-K could afford that, I reckon.
   58. Swedish Chef Posted: December 10, 2006 at 05:18 PM (#2257118)
It is this threat that makes it certain Seibu WILL kick in whatever it takes to get a deal done.

Then the whole process is without any integrity at all. What's the point of an auction if the teams aren't prepared to pay what they bid?
   59. Best Regards, President of Comfort, Esq., LLC Posted: December 10, 2006 at 05:21 PM (#2257120)
But I thought he could come over as a true FA midway through the 2008 season? Why would he agree to be posted and let Seibu keep $40-60M of his value and screw things up again? He'd just pull a Clemens and join a team in June 2008. I think this is Seibu's one shot.

It's clear it wouldn't screw anything up. If this Boston deal breaks down, it's obvious to everyone that if you're bidding on Matsuzaka next year, you're not bidding for a discount, you're not bidding and getting a kickback, you're simply buying an exclusive negotiating window with him. You'll still have to pay full market value, but there's no risk of another team swooping in and outbidding you, perhaps by offering a couple million more than anyone else reasonably would.

I guarantee the Yankees and Red Sox would make big bids, and they would pay full market value for him, knowing that trying to screw him over would simply send him to the other team in five months.
   60. winnipegwhip Posted: December 10, 2006 at 05:21 PM (#2257121)
IIRC Willis MacGhee also had signed an injury insurance policy prior to that BCS game which he suffered that horrific injury.
   61. Swedish Chef Posted: December 10, 2006 at 05:23 PM (#2257122)
Let's say the Mets calculated they could afford to pay 40 million + a hefty salary to D-Mat, should they just stand by and watch if Boston's cheapskates effectively pay a lower posting fee than what the Mets bid?

I certainly wouldn't accept such tampering with the system.
   62. Raskolnikov Posted: December 10, 2006 at 05:24 PM (#2257124)
It doesn't compromise the bidding process if everyone comes to understand that it's part of the process. And frankly, unless they were naive in the ways of Scott Boras, everyone should have understood that with bids at that level, it was going to HAVE to be part of this process.

Yes, but as much as I had read on the negotiations, there was no widespread understanding of it being part of the process. No one before the D-Mat bid was accounting for Seibu kicking some of it back to D-Mat. No one had even mentioned kickbacks. That's why the bids came as they did, in the 20-40M range. If it had been understood that kickbacks were part of the system, then we would have seen bids that would have easily surpassed the 50M that Boston placed.

It was only after the fact of the 50M bid, when all of us were wondering how Boston could possibly make this 50M bid work within a reasonable expense, that the idea of a kick-back was suggested.

Now, if the NPB and MLB want to discuss this for next offseason, then they can. Everyone would then be operating on an equal footing in terms of calculating their blind bid. This was not the case for the D-Mat, Igawa, or Iwamura bids.

And I think this would be a hard sell for the Japan Leagues, as this effectively kills any leverage the clubs have with the posting process.

I'm curious to see how these negotiations wrap up. The cleanest and most straightforward is what MCofA has already stated - that this is merely posturing and that Boston will come up with the money eventually. All other paths lead to bloodiness and lawsuits, as far as I can see.

When the bids enter the stratosphere as they did with Matsuzaka, and when the agent is Boras, that pile of money IS going to enter into the negotiations. Period.

No, it didn't. The system itself provides a practical limit for the maximum bid. In other words, the limit to the bid for the exclusive negotiating rights is what is realistic in terms of overall expense both for the rights and then the ensuing contract. Boston broke through this practical limit (maybe) which led all of us to speculate on how they could make the negotiations feasible.

There was no "period" about this. None of us expected this, the Boston bid created the twist to this scenario.
   63. Sam M. Posted: December 10, 2006 at 05:28 PM (#2257127)
I guarantee the Yankees and Red Sox would make big bids, and they would pay full market value for him, knowing that trying to screw him over would simply send him to the other team in five months.

But Larry, how can that be right? First of all, there's a decent chance Carlos Zambrano is going to be available, and I'd rather pay full market value for HIM than FMV PLUS $60M for Matsuzaka. Second, how on Earth would it make sense to pay $60M for an exclusive negotiating window only, if that's ALL they are getting, when they weren't willing to bid that much for a discount this time around? Or when you say "big bids" are you talking something well south of what we saw this year -- but still big? If so, then Seibu still has a lot of incentive to get the deal done THIS year instead of hoping for what they could get for the less attractive rights they'd be putting up for auction next year.
   64. Swedish Chef Posted: December 10, 2006 at 05:31 PM (#2257128)
If so, then Seibu still has a lot of incentive to get the deal done THIS year instead of hoping for what they could get for the less attractive rights they'd be putting up for auction next year.

But MLB won't accept any kickback deals, they've been clear about that. Assumin Lucchino doesn't feel like being banned from baseball, what can he do?
   65. I Love LA (OFF) Posted: December 10, 2006 at 05:31 PM (#2257129)
I think Boras should claim that the Red Sox didn't negotiate in good faith, and that the rights to negotiate with Matsuzaka go to the team who came in 2nd, whoever that is.
   66. Best Regards, President of Comfort, Esq., LLC Posted: December 10, 2006 at 05:33 PM (#2257130)
But Larry, how can that be right? First of all, there's a decent chance Carlos Zambrano is going to be available, and I'd rather pay full market value for HIM than FMV PLUS $60M for Matsuzaka. Second, how on Earth would it make sense to pay $60M for an exclusive negotiating window only, if that's ALL they are getting, when they weren't willing to bid that much for a discount this time around? Or when you say "big bids" are you talking something well south of what we saw this year -- but still big? If so, then Seibu still has a lot of incentive to get the deal done THIS year instead of hoping for what they could get for the less attractive rights they'd be putting up for auction next year.

You vastly underestimate how much it's personally worth to George Steinbrenner to keep a player away from the Red Sox.
   67. Dan The Mediocre is one of "the rest" Posted: December 10, 2006 at 05:34 PM (#2257133)
First of all, there's a decent chance Carlos Zambrano is going to be available, and I'd rather pay full market value for HIM than FMV PLUS $60M for Matsuzaka.


It may be the Cubs fan in me talking, but I'd take Zambrano over Matsuzaka even if Matsuzaka was a FA.
   68. J. Michael Neal Posted: December 10, 2006 at 05:35 PM (#2257134)
Yeah, but when you win a bid, you have the player's rights for SIX YEARS. When you pay all this money for a bid, it means the player is automaticaly under your control for 6 years.

No, it does not. What you are saying is that Matsuzaka should just accept the fact that two teams can conspire to make him play for eleven years before hitting free agency rather than six. In fact, they can't do that. Matsuzaka's position is no different than a player in his last arb year. What you are suggesting is exactly the same as that Vernon Wells should accept far below market value to sign an extension with Toronto "when he's NOT A FREE AGENT"!!!

Wells would be insane to sign a five year extension for $8 million per year. Matsuzaka is in exactly the same position. If the Red Sox want to buy out what are four of his free agent years, they are going to have to pay him like they are free agent years. That the rules say they have his rights for an additional six years is completely irrelevent.
   69. Free Rob Base #2 Posted: December 10, 2006 at 05:39 PM (#2257135)
I think Boras should claim that the Red Sox didn't negotiate in good faith, and that the rights to negotiate with Matsuzaka go to the team who came in 2nd, whoever that is.


This is, of course, the credited response.
   70. TVerik - Dr. Velocity Posted: December 10, 2006 at 05:42 PM (#2257136)
I think the rights should go to the team that is about 150 miles south of the original bidder, and plays in a stadium that doesn't smell bad.
   71. Best Regards, President of Comfort, Esq., LLC Posted: December 10, 2006 at 05:44 PM (#2257139)
It may be the Cubs fan in me talking, but I'd take Zambrano over Matsuzaka even if Matsuzaka was a FA.

A guy who walks almost 5 guys per 9 innings? AL Batters would eat him for lunch. A conclusion his 4.93 interleague ERA supports.
   72. Sam M. Posted: December 10, 2006 at 05:46 PM (#2257140)
Yes, but as much as I had read on the negotiations, there was no widespread understanding of it being part of the process. No one before the D-Mat bid was accounting for Seibu kicking some of it back to D-Mat. No one had even mentioned kickbacks.

That's true. Sometimes things change because parties adjust to new realities created by the incentives they face on the ground. In this case, the parties have massive incentives pushing them in only one direction, and they are acting accordingly. You're talking fairness and justice and right. I'm talking real-world. And in my view, it's going to happen because every other interested party knows that they have Seibu by the short hairs, and what Seibu's interests & needs are. And it will, therefore, alter the landscape. Like it or not.

And it can be done, within the "rules," simply by Seibu and Matsuzaka getting creative and pretending it's all sweetness and light and the beginning of a new era in crafting a global baseball relationship. Kickback??? What "kickback?" We have signed a brand-new deal, unheard of in all of baseball history, that will offer untold riches to all concerned, to explore new vistas while maintaining the ties between Siebu and the greatest pitcher in our history, blah, blah, blah. Boras will talk about Seibu understanding that it's all about relationships in baseball nowadays, and what a pleasure it is to work with management that understands the importance of preserving those bonds . . . .

We'll see if I'm right. This "impasse" was entirely predictable, and all -- ALL -- about turning up the heat just a little more on Seibu.
   73. Swedish Chef Posted: December 10, 2006 at 05:46 PM (#2257141)
I think the rights should go to the team that is about 150 miles south of the original bidder, and plays in a stadium that doesn't smell bad.

So where would he play on the Knicks?
   74. Free Rob Base #2 Posted: December 10, 2006 at 05:47 PM (#2257142)
I think the rights should go to the team that is about 150 miles south of the original bidder, and plays in a stadium that doesn't smell bad.

The New Haven Scoundrels?
   75. TVerik - Dr. Velocity Posted: December 10, 2006 at 05:50 PM (#2257144)
Have you been to MSG, Swedish? Uck.
   76. Swedish Chef Posted: December 10, 2006 at 05:50 PM (#2257145)
And it can be done, within the "rules," simply by Seibu and Matsuzaka getting creative and pretending it's all sweetness and light and the beginning of a new era in crafting a global baseball relationship. Kickback??? What "kickback?" We have signed a brand-new deal, unheard of in all of baseball history, that will offer untold riches to all concerned, to explore new vistas while maintaining the ties between Siebu and the greatest pitcher in our history, blah, blah, blah.

Corruption is corruption even with good PR.
   77. Sam M. Posted: December 10, 2006 at 05:52 PM (#2257146)
But MLB won't accept any kickback deals, they've been clear about that. Assumin Lucchino doesn't feel like being banned from baseball, what can he do?

Hah. Just like Selig isn't going to find the Red Sox negotiated in bad faith even if they offered Matsuzaka a dime a day, Selig isn't going to question a personal services contract that Seibu enters into with Matsuzaka which is approved over in Japan, on the ground that he considers it a kickback. There are none so blind as those who are in bed with Larry Lucchino . . . .
   78. Swedish Chef Posted: December 10, 2006 at 05:52 PM (#2257147)
Have you been to MSG, Swedish? Uck.

Sorry, I tried to think of non-smelly sports facilities in the NY area and came up blank, so I chose a place I've never been to. :-)
   79. greenback needs a ride, not ammo Posted: December 10, 2006 at 05:53 PM (#2257148)
Sometimes things change because parties adjust to new realities created by the incentives they face on the ground.

I'd love to have heard Boras's response when he first became acquainted with the new reality of a $51M posting fee. I wonder if he yelled "Show me the money!" and then spun on his head.
   80. TVerik - Dr. Velocity Posted: December 10, 2006 at 05:55 PM (#2257150)
I've been to most of them. I think you have to take the New Jersey ones (in the Meadowlands swamp) completely out of the running.

Yankee Stadium - inside - to me smells like hot dogs and baseball. The urine smell doesn't hit you until you exit to the street. Shea smells like the inside of a toilet that hasn't been cleaned too much, at least to me.
   81. TVerik - Dr. Velocity Posted: December 10, 2006 at 05:56 PM (#2257151)
Luccino will not "cut and run" from these negotiations.
   82. winnipegwhip Posted: December 10, 2006 at 06:00 PM (#2257153)
I know the Knicks stink but does the smell persist when they leave MSG?
   83. Swedish Chef Posted: December 10, 2006 at 06:00 PM (#2257154)
Hah. Just like Selig isn't going to find the Red Sox negotiated in bad faith even if they offered Matsuzaka a dime a day, Selig isn't going to question a personal services contract that Seibu enters into with Matsuzaka which is approved over in Japan, on the ground that he considers it a kickback.

I don't Selig would lift a finger to protect a "friend" if it would be incovenient for him.

Actually, whatever ties Bostons ownership and Selig has cuts both ways. Would Henry embarass Selig and MLB by making a mockery of the rules and doing shady deals?
   84. Dan The Mediocre is one of "the rest" Posted: December 10, 2006 at 06:00 PM (#2257155)
A guy who walks almost 5 guys per 9 innings? AL Batters would eat him for lunch. A conclusion his 4.93 interleague ERA supports.


His K/BB rate is better than Zito, and the BB/9 rate is close to Zito.

So then why would anyone in the AL want Zito?
   85. cseadog Posted: December 10, 2006 at 06:06 PM (#2257158)
Yes, but as much as I had read on the negotiations, there was no widespread understanding of it being part of the process. No one before the D-Mat bid was accounting for Seibu kicking some of it back to D-Mat. No one had even mentioned kickbacks. That's why the bids came as they did, in the 20-40M range. If it had been understood that kickbacks were part of the system, then we would have seen bids that would have easily surpassed the 50M that Boston placed.


Actually, BA *was* reporting that "kickbacks" were anticipated to be part of the process and implied that Seattle returned some of Ichiro's posting fee. What has changed is that MLB has said there won't be any funny business. Boras has been clear, however, that he considers 3 parties are involved in these negotiations.

The explosion in the market (perhaps fueled in part by the BoSox enormous bid) has really hurt the Sox. At the time of the posting, I saw DM's "free agent" value at 5/75. Now it's 6/100+. So boras looks at what he thinks he can get in a year (or 2) when DM is a true FA, adds what DM gets paid if he goes back to japan and that's his number. Boras probably figures he can get 4 years at 18 per in 2 years ( boras might think he can get even more). Add the 6M DM makes if he goes back and the sox are looking at paying 6 years 78 Million. Boras doesn't care where it comes from, but why should he take less?
   86. Best Regards, President of Comfort, Esq., LLC Posted: December 10, 2006 at 06:09 PM (#2257160)
So then why would anyone in the AL want Zito?

I don't.
   87. cseadog Posted: December 10, 2006 at 06:13 PM (#2257161)
Here's the Callis quote from the Nov 10 ask BA. Now this may have been just an offhand comment, but at least some people thought there was the possbility for return of money by the posting team. I'm sure this view was shared by others in the baseball community:

Will Matsuzaka be worth the cost, which also will include a major league contract that figures to run for at least three years and eight figures per season? He very well could be. Remember, it's not unprecedented for the Japanese team to kick back part of the posting fee, and there may be merchandising and licensing benefits that allow the club which gets his rights to recoup part of it. He's only 26 and he's preferable to any free agent on the U.S. market, a market in which demand will far outstrip the supply this offseason. Not many 26-year-old potential aces with a proven track record become available.

Interesting that Callis also thought DM would get at least 10M per.
   88. Danny Posted: December 10, 2006 at 06:14 PM (#2257163)
A guy who walks almost 5 guys per 9 innings? AL Batters would eat him for lunch. A conclusion his 4.93 interleague ERA supports.

Yes, one peripheral stat from the most recent season and from 80 IP dispersed over 5 seasons is definitely the way to judge a pitcher.
   89. Best Regards, President of Comfort, Esq., LLC Posted: December 10, 2006 at 06:16 PM (#2257164)
Yes, one peripheral stat from the most recent season and from 80 IP dispersed over 5 seasons is definitely the way to judge a pitcher.

He's walked over 4/9IP over his career. He'll walk more in the AL. Do not want.
   90. J. Cross Posted: December 10, 2006 at 06:23 PM (#2257167)
Boras probably figures he can get 4 years at 18 per in 2 years ( boras might think he can get even more). Add the 6M DM makes if he goes back and the sox are looking at paying 6 years 78 Million. Boras doesn't care where it comes from, but why should he take less?

Well, I think Boras (really Matsuzaka) would take less b/c:

1) A lot can happen in two years and there's something to be said for a bird in hand, and

2) Matsuzaka wants to pitch in the majors now and not in two years.

So, if as far as expected return is concerned, Matsuzaka can expect to get $78M over 6 or $13M per, I think factor 1 would reasonably bring him down to accept about $11M per over 6 ($66M total) but how much is factor 2 worth? Obviously, I have no idea but it does seems like he badly want to pitch in MLB and spending the next 2 years in Seibu can't be that appealing. This leads me to believe that he'd take $9 x 6 ($54M total).

Would the Sox pay $54M (to Matsuzaka) over 6? This leads them to be paying $105M total or $17.5M per year. I think that they would pay about that in a regular FA deal and would probably pay a bit more considering that the posting fee isn't luxury taxable.

In short, I think there's a little room for a deal to get done here with something at around $55-$60M over 6 years being just appealing enough to both sides.
   91. AJMcCringleberry Posted: December 10, 2006 at 06:29 PM (#2257174)
Keep lowballing him Red Sox! Selig should then award him to the second highest bidder!
   92. TVerik - Dr. Velocity Posted: December 10, 2006 at 06:31 PM (#2257176)
I know you're all enthusiasm and not too serious, Mets fans, but I estimate the percent chance that Selig awards the rights to the second bidder at about 0.00000000000000008%
   93. AJMcCringleberry Posted: December 10, 2006 at 06:35 PM (#2257180)
So you're saying there's a chance?
   94. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: December 10, 2006 at 06:45 PM (#2257183)
"So where would he play on the Knicks?"

Center, duh.
   95. baudib Posted: December 10, 2006 at 06:48 PM (#2257184)
I'm betting that the outcome is closer to Boras' desires than the current Red Sox offer.

Barring that, can't Seibu go back to the second-highest bid if the talks completely break down?
   96. Josh Posted: December 10, 2006 at 06:55 PM (#2257191)
No, Seibu can't go to the 2d highest bid. If there is no agreement, there is no transfer of $$ and Matsuzaka can't be posted until next Nov.

If Matsuzaka signs, I'm sure Seibu will contract with him to provide him $$ for licensing of his likeness, etc. Not only did Boras suggest it (he didn't mention licensing, but has clearly said that Seibu is part of the negotiations), it would be a bad idea not to. And, I don't see anything that blocks it, unless there is something in a MLBPA signed off licensing deal. Certainly the posting agreement doesn't stop Seibu and Matsuzaka from ever contracting for (non-baseball) services ever again.
   97. The Ghost of Sox Fans Past Posted: December 10, 2006 at 06:56 PM (#2257193)
Barring that, can't Seibu go back to the second-highest bid if the talks completely break down?

I should put the answer to this in the Wiki FAQ.
   98. baudib Posted: December 10, 2006 at 06:58 PM (#2257194)
No, Seibu can't go to the 2d highest bid. If there is no agreement, there is no transfer of $$ and Matsuzaka can't be posted until next Nov.


Then all of the posts about the Red Sox "winning" the posting just to keep him from the Yankees were on the mark
   99. TVerik - Dr. Velocity Posted: December 10, 2006 at 07:09 PM (#2257198)
Ghosty, unless you mean to smack down your mom, you need to change your bio.
   100. Dan The Mediocre is one of "the rest" Posted: December 10, 2006 at 07:23 PM (#2257210)

Then all of the posts about the Red Sox "winning" the posting just to keep him from the Yankees were on the mark


If it is found that the Red Sox were not acting in good faith, Selig can give the Mets (second highest bidder) the chance to negotiate.
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