Brother, Can You Spare a Dime 38 to 45 Mil?

One rival executive says flatly that the Red Sox could not come up with such a sum for Matsuzka’s Japanese team, the Seibu Lions, within the prescribed 35-day limit.

Sportswriters love stuff like the Matsuzaka posting rumors.  So do we bloggers.  But we bloggers seem to look at the transaction in a bit less of a vacuum, while guys like Ken Rosenthal can call up their bestest friend in a rival front office and get juicy quotes like the one above and run them without criticism.  The conventional writers crank stuff out, apparently with limited access to the internets.  Needless to say, Rosenthal does nothing to research whether in fact the claim that the Sox can’t even afford the posting fee might be accurate, so we did it for him.  About two seconds of Google research turns up John Henry’s net worth.  We also found some estimates of Tom Werner’s.  And we can speculate about Theodore Alfond’s (a Sox limited partner). We imagine between the lot of them (and the rest of the LPs) they’ve got something liquid.  It would have been nice for Rosenthal to make a stab at debunking the ludicrous claim that the Sox can’t come up with the money.  I wonder what front office that quip emanted from.  Any guesses?

13 comments… add one
  • The quote from the “rival executive” is just plain stupid.
    Henry et al. would not have to spend a dime of their own money to raise $40 million. (Do they really have to pony it all up at once, in any case?)
    They have tons of equity they could borrow agaist. You think someone is not going to accept Fenway Park as collateral? Borrow against future Sox ticket sales or TV contracts?
    I mean, I’m not financial wizard, but a team with a payroll and cash flow of this kind would not have any problem coming up with a tractor trailer full of unmarked $100 bills by 9 am tomorrow if they had to.

    Hudson November 11, 2006, 4:18 pm
  • …i love it when sf’s make my argument for me…i was once scolded for suggesting that the sox could probably afford to consistently outbid the yankees on high priced free agents, but they chose not to, ’cause they’re smart…how dare i make such a statement about the sox financial well-being without the facts to back it up?…after all, i hadn’t seen their financial records…so, thanks for doing my homework for me sf…you can be smart and cheap [like me]…
    …i’d love to hear what the spin will be if the rumor’s not true…damn the evil empire?…

    dc November 11, 2006, 4:22 pm
  • …i’d love to hear what the spin will be if the rumor’s not true…damn the evil empire?…
    No – the spin will be “Buster Olney’s a dunce”.
    As for the financial arguments, I have never, ever represented that the people who own the Red Sox aren’t filthy rich. I have only made comments on how they choose to spend that money, within the context of running the business of a baseball team, and that they have run their team with specific financial desires and obligations. I don’t think any of us SFs think that John Henry isn’t able to ante up more money for whatever player comes along, he most certainly is. But that’s not how he has operated the team to this point. And should this be a bona fide offer, it is also illustrative of the difference of what a DM signing might mean, on many levels.
    Simply put, the idea that Henry couldn’t somehow come up with a boatload of cash is absurd, and has nothing to do with the operating strategies of the team, which is a separate issue entirely. If Rosenthal had substantiated why this wasn’t possible (for example, is there a rule that this money must come from a certain place?), he might have a story on his hands.

    SF November 11, 2006, 4:32 pm
  • …then it wasn’t you that challenged me about me speculating that the sox had money, but were just cheap [sorry, wise]…i call it cheap when someone has the money, but won’t spend it…i can be cheap, so i’m not throwing stones here…and you’re right, whoever’s suggesting that the sox can’t pull off this transaction is a dope, and the comment’s not worth much more conversation that we’ve already expended…i guess the thing that i was pointing out was that the sox have used the “inability” to compete with the yanks resources excuse before when they’ve lost out on certain players, but you appear to have debunked that…if you sf’s are wise to that, but still give your mgmt a pass when they don’t cough up more dough on occasion, i give you a lot of credit…i wouldn’t have the patience for that…it would be interesting to see how things would turn out if the teams had the same budget…
    …just curious, you mean there was ever a question about whether or not buster olney is a dunce?…

    dc November 11, 2006, 4:48 pm
  • The question, dc, is whether the Sox are cheap by nature — that they coughed up a lot of money for Schilling, Varitek, Ortiz (and going back to previous management, Pedro and Mo Vaughn) seems to dispute the notion that they are somehow inherently cheap. Under your definition, the Sox are cheap anytime they don’t pick up a player — so they’re just as cheap for letting Trot Nixon walk this year as they were for letting Damon go last year, regardless of other reasons. If Bill Gates decides not to spend his billions on a gold-plated yacht, is he “cheap” by your definition because he dosn’t spend the money he has on something he could otherwise afford?
    Here’s what we’ve seen in the way of reaction from the New York media:
    “The Sox can’t possibly afford that.”
    “The Sox are just blocking so the Yankees will have to wait until next year.”
    “The Sox don’t have the balls to spend that kind of money.”
    “The Sox didn’t pay Johnny Damon, so they won’t pay Matsuzaka.”
    It all translates to: “We think the Sox are inferior, therfore the idea that they outgunned the Yanks on the premiere acquisition of the offseason must be some sort of mistake.”
    Based on the unnamed executive quote, it appears the thinking must extend to the front office. And that kind of arrogant underestimation suits the Red Sox’ purposes just fine.
    Now let’s sit back and wait for the fans’ response. I predict: “He’s just going to end up like Hideki Irabu. We’re glad the Red Sox got him, so we can go after real pitchers like Barry Zito.”

    Paul SF November 11, 2006, 5:40 pm
  • Henry has so much money, he can initate talks into purchasing half of the largest NASCAR team.

    TJ November 11, 2006, 5:51 pm
  • Paul SF: I think the dude’s just thinking probabilistically..
    Though to be honest, I didn’t value Damon that highly, but he did have a relatively excellent season, so I was flat wrong.
    And in the end, it doesn’t matter what that dude thinks, it’s either right or wrong.
    The 40+ million seems high to me.. it should really seem high to anybody. Though of course, in the other thread, I guessed 20 mil, so I’m probably underestimating by quite a bit.
    Unless they’re doing what Seattle and Ichiro allegedly did, it’s a lot of money. And I don’t think he’ll end up like Irabu, but at 20 mil per, it feels like you can only be pessimistic about it – that’s a hell lot of expectations…

    Lar November 11, 2006, 8:14 pm
  • paul, cheap’s probably too strong a word, maybe i meant frugal, it’s just that one sounds like a hypocrite when criticizing one team for spending “too much” money on a player [i.e. contreras, pavano] that the other team coveted too by the way, by blaming the system and the team that signed the player for having an unfair advantage, when all along the team that lost out apparently had the resources, but elected not to overreach…we’re all pretty smart now about whether pavano and contreras were good pickups, just as the shilling, veritek, and ortiz deals worked out well…duh, obviously money well spent after the fact…wouldn’t it be neat if we could play the stocks after the bell closes?…and the contreras deal spawned the “evil empire” nickname, which given the rumor of the day, seems a bit unfair…if the sox have overreached on DM do they take the “ee” title from the yanks?…you’re right, some fans will be jerks about DM, just like you guys are about pavano and contreras and giambi and sheffield and [insert every other yankee acquisition, whether it worked out or not]…i promise i won’t personally do it in advance, but you deserve the payback from my brethren, so brace yourself…i’d say this removes the excuses for not winning it all next year, otherwise why commit the money…sweet…

    dc November 11, 2006, 8:26 pm
  • Is it ridiculous to think that the Sox have done a lot of math? As in “subtract Nixon’s salary, subtract Foulke, get possible insurance money for Matt Clement, slot in a ML minimum player at 2nd base, and add a $10-$12M pitcher plus a closer (and maybe an outfielder), write off some of the posting fee by marketing and lesser revenue sharing portion”? Isn’t it possible that this doesn’t add a ton to their annual bottom line? Why is there this assumption that the Sox have all of a sudden become a payroll monster? I don’t see it, however hard I try.
    The idea that because the Sox might have spent a ton of money on a player makes them the Yankees all of a sudden is prepostorous. They have spent a ton of money on other guys in the past three years (Rent, Schill, Tek, Beckett’s renewal). They just don’t spend it on every position. And this isn’t a sob story: I am content with the Sox’ efforts. I simply do not understand why this (potential) move is being looked at completely out of context. The numbers seem to be blinding a lot of people. And they may not even be accurate!

    SF November 11, 2006, 11:30 pm
  • Clearly, the Sox are making their move for 2007 and beyond with this deal. If it blows up in their face, you won’t hear any defense from me. I agreed with the Beckett trade, I agree with this move, I agreed with the philosophy that they shouldn’t dump their prospects at the deadline on the belief that the upcoming years would be similar to the late-1990s Yankee dynasty (not sure anything could really come close to that). The money is astronomical, for sure, and I don’t know that the Sox would have done it if it weren’t for the fact that the posting fee is non-taxable and can come from anywhere in John Henry’s bank vaults.
    I expect Yank fans to root against DM, just like Yank fans root against Schilling, Ortiz, Manny, etc. The difference is whether they throw away their intellectual honesty to do so. Sure, he could end up like Irabu, but all signs point to him being better and having a better mental state than Irabu did. It’s one thing to say, “I hope he goes down in flames,” as I hope the Yankees collectively do each and every year. It’s another to say, “He’ll go down in flames; I’m glad you have him” when secretly these fans wanted him on their team.
    To your and the other YFs on here’s credit, you’ve been quite magnanimous and honest in your belief that this helps the Red Sox. Others wouldn’t be so big. It’s one of the great things about this site.

    Paul SF November 11, 2006, 11:31 pm
  • I think DM will be a good player. But does anyone really think he’ll be a 20mil per player? He has the *potential* to do that, but you can’t get much better than people *expect* to do. The *potential* to become Irabu isn’t quite binary – it’s not one way or the other, or whatever, but it’s surely a lot easier to go down than to go up.
    I’m not saying that because I’m a YF and hate the Sox for “beating” the Yanks, but I truly believe that if the Yanks can get him for 20 mil per, I would hope that they don’t. Well, maybe I do, but it’ll be because like, the Yanks mentality is different – there’s no reason to have 2 2nd-tier 10 mil pitcher when we can have 1 20 mil pitcher (since we might not even have enough starting spots), but that situation is probably unique in baseball.
    ARod hits 35+ HR’s, drives in 100+ RBI’s, and still gets the shits from Yanks fan. Yes, it’s partially because of his recent playoffs drought, but it obviously only caught on because of his huge ass contract.
    It’ll be hard to live up, even if “technically” they don’t pay him that much per. I don’t know.
    It’s like in poker – you would pay even money for a coin flip, or maybe a little more to “pay the house”, but anything more is just not rational.
    There’s a price somewhere between 10 mil and 20 mil per that is rational. For me, 20 mil is a bit too much. Johan Santana gets paid 10 mil a year, and yes, he’s underpaid, and probably worth 20 mil a year. To reach “break even” point for DM, he’ll have to throw a Santana season. Not to say impossible, but come on, you’re going to tell me that’s a good bet?

    Lar November 12, 2006, 12:47 am
  • I’ll definitely agree that the fact that any SP gets paid more than Santana is absolutely ridiculous, and from a pure pitching standpoint, Matsuzaka will probably not be a $20M pitcher in any season he’ll pitch in MLB. The difference is, the money they’re putting up is probably not *just* for his pitching prowess.
    I think about it like this. The $40M or so for Seibu basically is paying on the chance to recoup more than that in (new) revenue streams, and the rest is for Matsuzaka the pitcher. Sure, that’s not technically what it is, but I think it’s a realistic breakdown on the situation from the FO standpoint.

    Quo November 12, 2006, 1:08 am
  • sf, it’s obvious that the sox mgmt has done their homework on this one…most of us have been saying that, so i don’t know why you keep harping on it…i have less faith that my team is as calculating in their moves…sure it’s valid to discuss the subtraction of salaries if you include the corresponding additions the team might need to make [i.e. if papelbon starts, and foulke leaves, you need to add a closer, and isn’t there talk about adding jd drew to replace nixon, and perhaps dru jones?]…no offense, but i don’t think all of the improvements needed can come from within, so that means trades, and other free agent signings…you’re not becoming the yankees, but you’re becoming “yankee-like”…we could see the gap between total team spending shrink a wee bit this year…i don’t blame you for not wanting to acknowledge it, since it involves sampling some crow…
    paul, i agree with you…i saw somewhere, maybe here, that the sox would have 3 starting pitchers in their mid-20’s…as a yf that scares me…
    …i have to root against DM if he’s wearing the “wrong” uniform, but i know you understand…i’d take the guy in a heartbeat for the kind of money being talked about…i get the feeling he’s the real deal…

    dc November 12, 2006, 2:04 am

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