For the Record

Not that anyone cares, but I figured I’d get my opinions on the Matsuzaka posting on the record now that it is finally confirmed (congrats to Mr. Olney for breaking this – he just gained added trust from this reader), for posterity and Google searching next year (when DM is either 19-0 with a 1.14 ERA, on th DL, or doing his best Jaret f*cking Wright imitation).  I have also created a category called "Matsuzaka" over to the left, and will begin tagging all DM-related posts to this category now.  There’s been a great deal of superb discussion (16 threads, 547 comments and counting!) this past week here on all sides, and it’s worth having them sortable as a reference down the road. 

Read my thoughts after the jump.

This will be, should it transpire:

  • A very exciting signing, simply as a fan, forgetting any speculative baseball performance.  A new, young player, and a starting pitcher at that.  I felt the same way when Beckett was acquired last year: I hadn’t considered that the Sox would go after JB, much less be the winning team in acquiring his services. With Matsuzaka, I knew the Sox would submit a bid, that they would be competitive with many of the other teams bidding, but I didn’t think they’d ice it.  I honestly thought that was the Yankees MO, no disrespect intended.
  • A very scary signing.  Not because of the posting fee by itself, or because of the contract by itself, or because of the lack of ML experience by DM itself, but because of all of these things combined.  Like YF has hammered here before, we don’t know the inner finances of these teams, so beating the Sox down for lavishing R&D money on a pitcher who hasn’t sniffed the Majors isn’t what causes me trepidation.  To me, it’s just because he hasn’t pitched here before.  That may make me a ‘fraidy cat, but I don’t think the fear is irrational. I have similar fears about Papelbon’s move to the rotation and his health, Curt’s health, Wake’s health, Beckett’s development, etc.   These fears are related to having a new, somewhat untested pitcher, and not to his contract.
  • Neither proof that the Sox are willing to blow their payroll out of the water this offseason, with respect to the luxury tax (kick-in starts at $148M this year), nor evidence that they will be picking up high-priced salary dumps at the trading deadline next year (particularly if, like this year, they deem themselves to be mostly out of contention). I look at this move as an idiosyncracy, for all the reasons that have been hashed out on this site the past week.  I make no assumptions that next August the front office will be acting any differently than they did this year, unless the team’s circumstances in the standings and with respect to the DL are different. I am not naive; this is a business.
  • Dan Shaughnessy’s (and maybe the Sox/Yanks blogosphere’s) wet dream.  Really, could he/we have asked for better material going into a season?
31 comments… add one
  • Agreed, 100 percent. Exciting, scary, and I’m already dreaming of the first Matsuzaka-Matsui matchup. I bet the Japan marketing folks are, too.

    Paul SF November 15, 2006, 10:34 am
  • Hopes for The Yankees for winning The Al East and world series are over by Redsox acquiring Dmat.
    It’s over and hopes for winning world series and division for next year. By signing Dmat The Redsox completely change The balance of power in Al east. Redsox rotation now has too much power and depth. The Yankees can’t compete . Along with BlueJays and Orioles, and Drays. Drays who won the posting rights for Iwamura and Orioles trading for Jaret wright. Mets will sign Barry Zito. This is the Year that Yankees last chance to win World Series without Redsox and Angels making the Playoffs. The Yankees choked and failed. Do you think the Yankees will make the playoffs next year or is it over?
    Highest payroll? yankees cut payroll by trading Gary Sheffield and Jaret wright. They also renew the contract of Mike Mussina which was $20 million to $11 million per year. So Redsox won the bid fo Dmat and negotiate him to contract. The redsox payroll will balloned to that Yankees payroll . By The End they will be even. The redsox aren’t done dealing and willl go after high price free agents such as J.D Drew and signed many free agents as possible.
    I thank the Redsox Frontoffice for bidding a outrageous amount Daisuke Matsuzaka sweepstakes. I’m Yankees fan, I’m feeling shocked and stunned right now. It feels like The Redsox front Office took my heart out on my body. I don’t Know if I have The desire to watch the Yankees games and joy to be yankees fan.
    Today’s It’s Dmat Day. The RedSox may have won the battle but The war is not yet over. Yankees will arise again and strikes back.
    The Reason Redsox didn’t resigned Damon was He was too old. They rather invest that money for premiere young starting pitching. Second ,\” I remember That phrase was \”If they couldn’t beat them and join them\” . So Damon and Arod, and Giambi signed with the Yankees besides the Money so they can learn how to play in ny and managed by Joe.
    Conspiracy theory or not? How did Buster Olney know The Sealed Bids that Redsox have won the bidding for Matsuzaka. Who Told Bustery Olney that Redsox have won? I know Bud Selig and John Henry are best friends. Redsox may block Matsuzaka away from Yankees and now they have won him over. How did the Redsox know that No will bid higher than $51 million for Dmat? Thanks Bud .

    Anoynomous November 15, 2006, 10:42 am
  • Just one thing, SF: very sporting of you to give props to Olney. You haven’t been his biggest fan in the past, and I respect you for giving credit where it’s due.
    Interesting, though – I thoguht Olney’s contacts were in the Yankees, not with the Sox. You’d think one of the Boston-based hacks (or Gammons) would have broken the story.
    I agree with all your points, for what it’s worth. I think DMat may have an adjustment period, and I doubt he’ll ever be Johann/Oswalt/Holliday level, but I figure he’ll be the Sox ace for the lenght of his contract (barring injury).

    Sam November 15, 2006, 10:44 am
  • Why are these Anonymi posting the exact same things at YFSF as at LoHud? It’s almost like spam..

    Paul SF November 15, 2006, 10:47 am
  • There are fringe benefits to losing this bid -next time I’m in Japan during the season, I’ll have access to both the Yanks and Sox on TV at 8am. Great way to start a day.

    Andrews November 15, 2006, 11:13 am
  • I’m really bitter about this whole thing. I hate that the Red Sox fans get to watch Matsuzaka pitch every 5 days. I hate that they get the excitement of watching a young ace pitcher develop at the major league level. I hate that they spent ridiculous amounts to get him. I hate it even more that we didn’t.
    And anyone that can honestly say that they aren’t a bit bitter over the fact that he won’t be pitching for us next year should go look at their posts from a few weeks ago.

    Kelly November 15, 2006, 11:39 am
  • Hey Kelly at least the Yankees have their own homegrown name Phil Hughes. At least the Redsox bought every starting pitching and they won bidding with Daisuke Matsuzaka
    Do you know about Phil Hughes?
    go here.
    http://www.philiphughes.net

    Aguila November 15, 2006, 11:42 am
  • I can’t remember being this excited over a signing. Pedro? Schilling? Not even close.

    josh q public November 15, 2006, 11:43 am
  • Um, Aguila? Jonathan Papelbon? Jon Lester?

    Paul SF November 15, 2006, 11:46 am
  • Aguila – Lester, Papelbon.

    Lar November 15, 2006, 11:46 am
  • I’m definitely disappointed. But, I’m not bitter.
    The fact is, the Red Sox wanted Matsuzaka more than the Yankees did – which means the Red Sox NEEDED Matsuzaka more than the Yankees do.
    Why? Because the Red Sox S.UCK so bad and the Yankees didn’t need Matsuzaka that badly.
    It would have been nice, but to overpay like the Red Sox did just wouldn’t have been worth it (Assuming the Red Sox actually sign him).
    Anyway, I’m glad the Yankees didn’t overpay for the rights to talk to Matsuzaka.
    My only question is this:
    Can we start calling the Red Sox the “Evil Empire” now!!

    David November 15, 2006, 11:46 am
  • Nah, you have to actually dominate to be an “Empire”. ;)

    Lar November 15, 2006, 11:47 am
  • How about the Red Menace?

    Sam November 15, 2006, 11:50 am
  • David.
    Your logic is so flawed it’s pathetic. Had the Yankees not needed him, they would have not entered a bid at all, especially one in the range of 30million (reportedly). Can you justify that bid, if they didn’t need him?
    And really, you should be happy about the Yanks not getting him. Not only does it give Yankee fans an inordinate amount of ammo on sites just like this, but the Yankees are already overpaying for so much within their system right now, adding another might have been that proverbial straw.

    Brad November 15, 2006, 11:51 am
  • I’m not happy that the Yanks didn’t get him. I’m quite upset, actually.

    Sam November 15, 2006, 11:53 am
  • YF’s -Imagine how sweet it will be if he’s 2007’s version of Contrearas…

    Andrews November 15, 2006, 12:05 pm
  • The Yankees didn’t need him, in particular. They do need an ace, though. I don’t know what you’re saying with the straw, since if they’re making a play for Zito, they would’ve pay quite a bit anyhow..

    Lar November 15, 2006, 12:07 pm
  • What’s that: a pretty talented pitcher who was ruined by a media and cast off by fans, but then went elsewhere and dominated?
    I can’t see that happening. Baseball in Japan is a little more pressure filled than that of Cuba. This kid has already shown that he can handle the pressure. Also, he’s easily in posssesion of more raw talent than Contreras ever dreamed of having.

    Brad November 15, 2006, 12:08 pm
  • Lar, the Yankees didn’t need another talented pitcher right now? The New York Yankees? Really?

    Brad November 15, 2006, 12:09 pm
  • *in particular*. Do you read half the sentence?
    The Yankees don’t *need* him *in particular*, but of course, they’ll sure as hell love him.
    By the way, “you can never be sure that he can handle the pressure”. He better have more raw talent than Contreras ever dreamed of, because they’re paying quite a bit more than Contreras – and I’m not even counting the posting fee this time..

    Lar November 15, 2006, 12:14 pm
  • Contreras had problems, also, because his family was having trouble in Cuba while he was on the Yankees (I forget the specifics). Not coincidentally, the trouble was resolved, and he promptly began to pitch well again. Now his age is a question, particularly looking at his second half this year.

    Paul SF November 15, 2006, 12:17 pm
  • “What’s that: a pretty talented pitcher who was ruined by a media and cast off by fans, but then went elsewhere and dominated?”
    No, Brad, a very talented pitcher, drooled over by MLB insiders, who couldn’t handle the pressure of pitching in NY -he completely fell apart. He dominated in Chicago while El Duque was there to calm and advise him; after a very good first half this year he started to revert to form.
    Paul, his family moved to the US in June 2004; he was mediocre before and after his trade to CWS that year.
    “Baseball in Japan is a little more pressure filled than that of Cuba. This kid has already shown that he can handle the pressure.”
    See Irabu, Hideki.

    Andrews November 15, 2006, 1:48 pm
  • Dude, Andrews. Whatever makes you feel better about this. Fine, here ‘ya go:
    DM = Irabu.
    Same guy. Same outcome. Same track record. Same weight. Same strengh. Same everything!

    Brad November 15, 2006, 1:56 pm
  • Fine, dude. If it makes YOU feel better, keep telling yourself that another failure like Irabu is not a possibility.
    Look at Irabu’s stats in 2003 when he returned to Japan after 6+ disasterous years in the US –
    13-8 3.85 173IP 164K 47BB 24HR 1.35WHIP 8.53 K/9 2.45 BB/9 3.48 K/BB
    Not a bad year at all.
    Compare that to Beckett’s 2006:
    16-11 5.01 203.2 IP 158K 74BB 36 HR 1.29 WHIP 6.95 K/9 3.27 BB/9 2.14 K/BB
    You seem unwilling to admit Japanese Baseball MLB is not apples to apples. The guy may well be the pitching version of Ichiro, but you should admit that something much less is surely possible.

    Andrews November 15, 2006, 2:25 pm
  • Japanese Baseball – MLB

    Andrews November 15, 2006, 2:26 pm
  • Andrews, no one says it’s apples to apples. But you make your point for us by posting Irabu’s return year in Japan, which is nowhere near as good as Matsuzaka’s years in Japan. 3.85 ERA? 24 HR? Those would be career highs for Matsuzaka — by a lot. Clearly, Matsu is better than Irabu in Japan. Clearly, he’s mentally stronger than Irabu (didn’t want to play for the Mariners because he didn’t want to be overshadowed by Ichiro). So clearly, signs point to him being better than Irabu.
    Whether that happens, we’ll wait and see. But Irabu does not compare favorably to Matsuzaka.

    Paul SF November 15, 2006, 2:32 pm
  • I’m not trying to equate Seattle and Boston as clubs or as environs, but having lived in the PacNW for the last ten years, the regional buzz that Ichiro generated was _INCREDIBLE_. It reverberates to this day. In a city like NY, maybe it’s more of a big ripple by a rock tossed in a river when a guy like Godzilla lands, but in a baseball-centric smaller city like Boston, the energy that Matsuzaka will generate will be searing, white hot. Believe me.

    attackgerbil November 15, 2006, 2:39 pm
  • Paul, Irabu’s numbers as a starter in Japan, before coming to the US compare much more favorably:
    1994 15-10 3.04 207.1 IP 239K, 94 BB 16 HR1.27 WHIP 10.37 K/9 4.08 BB/9 2.54 K/BB
    1995 11-11 2.53 203 IP 239K, 72 BB 9 HR1.13 WHIP 10.60 K/9 3.19 BB/9 3.32 K/BB
    1996 12-6 2.40, 157.1 IP, 167K, 59 BB 7 HR1.06 WHIP 9.55 K/9 3.38 BB/9 2.83 K/BB
    Other than control, not light years apart.
    My point is not that Irabu=Matsuzaka, as Brad incorrectly assumes, but that dominance doesn’t always follow the expatriate pitcher. Boston is tough on highly touted players, a lot like NY. Add to that the cultural difference, added pressure to perform, possible tinkering with mechanics, etc. Lots of players wither under such pressure – like Contreras, Irabu, Kaz Matsui, and others

    Andrews November 15, 2006, 3:27 pm
  • I agree, Andrews, about the pressure concerns, and that highly touted players from other countries have flopped in such situations. Matsuzaka, however, has been in high-pressure situations since high school, is heavily scrutinized already, and he seems to have no qualms about the media — he didn’t want to play in Ichiro’s shadow, which says something to me. It appears he is different.
    On a side note about Irabuzaka, some have noted that Matsuzaka gives up a fair number of home runs, which is OK because he doesn’t walk anybody. Irabu walked more, and gave up more home runs. That’s a recipe for disaster (*cough* Beckett *cough*), particularly when you’re in a transition season as Irabu was and Matsuzaka will be. The fact that Matsu has better control is a big plus to me.

    Paul SF November 15, 2006, 3:33 pm
  • “Clearly, he’s mentally stronger than Irabu (didn’t want to play for the Mariners because he didn’t want to be overshadowed by Ichiro).”
    Since when did an oversized ego have anything to do with lack of mental toughness?

    Andrews November 15, 2006, 3:35 pm
  • Sorry, delete the “lack of”.
    I agree about with you about his control- his ’06 K/BB stat was quite impressive, to say the least.

    Andrews November 15, 2006, 3:39 pm

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