Next Stop, Travelocity?

Daisuke Matsuzaka, who is in talks with the Boston Red Sox after drawing a record bid, said farewell to Seibu Lions fans Thursday when he appeared in an event at the home field of the Pacific League team.

This story in today’s Japan Times doesn’t make it sound like Daisuke Matsuzaka has any plans to return to the Japanese League.  Could there be good news for Sox fans in the near future?  Is Scott Boras wincing at Daisuke’s public display of American baseball-itis?  Three weeks to go…

16 comments… add one
    That’s an odd article, but I think the 5 mil per is a bit low…

    Lar November 24, 2006, 12:38 pm
  • On xm the other day, Joe Sheehan of BP said he thought the sox would try to negotiate a much lower amount when it comes time to pay Seibu the posting fee. I wonder if this is just speculation on his part?
    I say there’s no way a Boras client will sign for 5 mil.

    Andrews November 24, 2006, 3:23 pm
  • What a horrible column, Lar. “The notion persists” that the bid was only made to block the Yankees. Yes, because hacks like this writer keep bringing it up.

    Paul SF November 24, 2006, 3:44 pm
  • I agree with Andrews. Everyday that goes by makes me feel less and less comfortable with the idea of this guy actually making it to Fenway. I don’t know what the hold up is here.

    Brad November 24, 2006, 3:58 pm
  • By the way, I in no way endorse that article, since we had most of that conversation weeks ago…
    Maybe it’s just a slow news day..

    Lar November 24, 2006, 6:51 pm
  • 21 days to go in a 30 day negotiating window is no time to start getting worried, under any circumstance.
    Boras and the Sox have no reason to make this a loud negotiation. Neither side has any interest in alienating the other: they need each other, no matter what people say about DM being able to go back to Seibu (you think the troubled Lions ownership isn’t keen on DM cutting a deal?). That result costs both Boras and Matsuzaka a LOT of money, it costs the Lions an ungodly sum, and it also costs Boras negotiating faith with the Sox, who he has been able do business with in the past. They are a wealthy club, and he will need them in the future (or now, with Drew). He can’t afford to have this be an ugly public negotiation at this point, if ever. From the Sox’ standpoint, they are in a position where the worst they can do from a financial standpoint is spend no money, if things break down. From a baseball standpoint, they have less leverage: they need this guy in a uniform, from both a marketing and pitching depth perspective. They also have little interest in a loud, ugly public negotiation with someone as powerful as Boras. They may need his players in the future (or now, with Drew). This is a negotiation where both sides need each other, and media silence is evidence of nothing, except possibly for rigor on the part of both sides of the negotiation. Check back in just under three weeks, if it takes that long, and we can start getting nervous. There’s just no reason at all to be uncomfortable right now.

    SF November 24, 2006, 7:23 pm
  • I really don’t expect there to be any significant word on talks until the final week, and something tells me they won’t announce a deal until the 30th day or the morning after the deadline passes.
    In the meantime, considering how quickly all the bats signed, it’s pretty clear that Zito and Schmidt are awaiting this signing before they make any decisions, and all the lesser pitchers are awaiting Zito’s and Schmidt’s deals to set the market. With the awards done, and the GM meetings not for another two weeks, this could be a slow news cycle for a while…

    Paul SF November 25, 2006, 3:05 am
  • hee hee…i’m enjoying seeing you guys squirm…nice rationalization sf, but boras doesn’t “need” the sox…they will always be an eager buyer as long as he represents the best of the players…the sox need to offer a contract that has similar gusto as the bid they made, or run the risk of looking like they were insincere, and give the perception that they are undercompensating the player to offset their overzealous bid…
    …one of 2 things could happen:
    1. red sox flinch [not the first time], getting cold feet following their exhorbitant bid, when they finally realize that the bid was 50% more than the next biggest spender, and don’t sign the guy…then get into an ugly finger-pointing contest with boras who’ll they’ll claim was trying to gouge them, hoping to save face and appease their fans…the claim against boras might be valid however, since he would stand to make more hay [of his own] by dangling dm in front of all of the teams next year…selig will vow to investigate, but instead get distracted by more important issues, like a home-run hitting tie-breaker for the all-star game…
    2. boras will try to sign the guy soon to a [short-term] 2/3 year $12m per contract in order to turn his investment around more quickly in a couple of years…remember, he gets no commission on the $51.1m bid…and unless the shenanigans being suggested about the sox re-negotiating the bid, etc. are done in the dark of night, the rest of baseball is watching to make sure this is done above board, expect major repercussions if there’s a whiff of wrong-doing…hee hee

    dc November 27, 2006, 1:03 am
  • dc:
    Why can’t I make a single post without you or some other YF calling it “rationalizing”. This is a negotiation: by definition both parties “need” each other if they want to get a deal done. And Boras “needs” the Sox to continue to have faith in him. This is why he’s such an unbelievable agent (and negotiator), that he’s able to get his players ungodly sums while not alienating the teams that he deals with, keeping them in the market for future talent. This is negotiation 101, and Boras gets an “A” almost every time.
    The Sox and Boras have a deadline in OVER TWO WEEKS, and have both vowed to keep this negotation silent, away from the media. There’s just no reason to be worried yet. Nowhere do I say there will not be such a time.

    SF November 27, 2006, 6:24 am
  • Boras do need the Sox, since he wants to break into the Asian market more, and this is a high-profile trade. The last thing you want to do is screw the Lions out of 51 million..

    Lar November 27, 2006, 9:22 am
  • Nick Cafardo wrote a piece explaining why Matsuzaka won’t be a big hit financially. Some parts are informative, like the fact the Sox may be buying into Roush racing. I think circle track racing is the most boring thing on earth, and turning to the left for three hours shouldn’t be considered a sport, but there sure is money in it. I know I’d pay to watch Tony Stewart bump a Sox/NESNmobile into the barrier at 180mph.
    Some suggestions are laughable: “How about an evening [at Fenway] with Daisuke Matsuzaka and his orchestra?”

    attackgerbil November 27, 2006, 10:56 am
  • …sorry sf, i was just having fun with it…didn’t mean to offend…i agree that both sides need to deal in good faith, but i know a little [generically speaking] about the negotiation process too, and it’s rarely a slam dunk unless a lot of informal discussion has already been taking place, and both sides know where they stand going in…negotiations can be very contentious without alienating the sides for the long term…of course boras gets big bucks for his players while not appearing to alienate the teams…they have to deal with him…just like the guy who has to pretend to be happy to see his in-laws all day for thanksgiving, just to keep peace with the wife…the rules of engagement are fuzzy, and the spin is just as important as the outcome…you know that no matter what the outcome, or how absurd the results of that outcome, both sides will spin the crap out of it…i know you didn’t say this, but boras will not appease the sox just to make a deal…if their initial offer is based on that thinking, they are in big trouble…neither of us have been on the inside during a boras session, but if he’s like other negotiators i’ve known, they give you a different side of themselves than the one you saw at lunch, or will see over drinks after the sessions…like it or not, in most negotiations he has considerable leverage, because there is one player and multiple buyers…this time it’s a bit different, but my point is that if the sox lowball an offer, they will give boras a convenient alibi for not getting the deal done, and coming back to try next year on the “open” market…
    …i don’t know if we still have faith in rumors, but this is from an article in today’s Boston Herald by Tony Massarotti:
    “The Red Sox and Daisuke Matsuzaka still have nearly three weeks to come to terms on a contract, but preliminary indications are that the sides may have to overcome an initial gap as wide as the Pacific Ocean.
    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.
    The length of the contract also could be an issue, particularly if Boras, as has been suggested, is lobbying for Matsuzaka to become a free agent after three years. Under the terms of the agreement between MLB and Japanese baseball officials, the Sox would own Matsuzaka’s rights for six years.”
    lar, boras can “break into” asia without the sox…like i said, he represents many of the high profile players, so if you want to field a competetive team, you come to him…of course he wouldn’t want to alienate one of the few real financial competitors to the yankees, but he also isn’t going to give away too much because of some illusion of his “needing” the sox…

    dc November 27, 2006, 11:01 am
  • See, now I read that Masarotti piece as nothing surprising, and to me that “gap as wide as the Pacific Ocean” (if Mazz’s info is even accurate, which is probably debatable) line is predictable. One side comes in high, the other side low. If they settle in the middle then Boras cannot claim the Sox negotiated in bad faith, and Matsuzaka would be a fool to turn down a $36-$48M contract. Seibu would likely be irate, as well. To me, Masarotti is describing a predictable negotation in hyperbolic terms, to sell his column. The idea that DM can easily go back to Japan doesn’t factor in loss-of-face, loss-of-faith, and risk. It won’t be easy for him to return to Japan if the Sox offer even $10M a year. Not to say it won’t happen, but Boras will be very careful about what he will accept, and what he will turn down.
    Your points are well taken, though, dc.

    SF November 27, 2006, 11:11 am
  • thanks sf, and i agree that there is considerable pressure to get this done…i don’t know how to measure the veracity of massarotti’s claims, since i don’t think i’ve read much of his stuff, with both eyes open anyway…so yep, take what he says with a grain of salt…it’s the closest i’ve seen to a rumor though…if both sides meet in the middle on the per annum $ [certainly not an ocean in this market], then it’ll be in the very predictable 10-12m range…sounds like the years may be a hangup though…and that could be stickier if mass has it right…

    dc November 27, 2006, 11:38 am
  • dc, FYI, from Buster Olney’s ESPN insider blog today:
    “The pressure on Boras will increase day to day, because the only real card he can play now to squeeze the Red Sox for more money is to take his client back to Japan — and it seems like nobody, from the pitcher to the Seibu Lions, wants this to happen. To repeat: The negotiating tactics used by the Red Sox are precisely those that would have been employed by other teams that placed bids, according to rival executives. And if anyone thinks the Red Sox might lose negotiating rights to another team in this case, that’s probably not happening, because an annual offer of $7 million to $8 million per year is hardly bad-faith negotiations.
    Baseball officials say Boras could squeeze the Seibu Lions for more money in an effort to increase the overall value of the package for Matsuzaka. He could tell Seibu, for example, that he’s got a five-year deal with the Red Sox, and if they don’t kick in some money, say, $1 million or $2 million per year, then he’ll blow up this whole deal and they won’t get the $51 million negotiating-rights fee. Boras also could attempt to challenge the posting system on legal grounds, but that would be a protracted battle that might keep Matsuzaka from pitching in the majors for months or years.”

    SF November 27, 2006, 2:34 pm
  • 7-8 seems more than fair for this guy…expect it to end up around 10-12 though…just my gut that the sox wouldn’t lead off with their best offer, so there’s wiggle room there…i don’t know what the rules are with leveraging the team against the player…the lions may be under no obligation to kick in money…they may be motivated to do so, but they could cry foul, that they’re being held hostage…

    dc November 27, 2006, 2:47 pm

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