Various takes from
Looneyland Yankeeland, where of course the Red Sox are simply trying to block the Yankees, not that the Yankees actually want him, no sir. In fact, this is the best thing to ever happen to the Yankees, unless of course a deal isn’t reached, in which case the Yankees will gladly sign him for $100 million next year. In any case, the Red Sox and their fans are hypocritical scum, which of course was a given anyway.
To be fair, the mainstream bloggers and reporters/columnists generally take the middle road — a great pickup for the Sox, a huge amount of money that seems to signal (though I believe it doesn’t) a change in phiilosophy after a disappointing season). It’s the commenters and message board posters who fly off the deep end with the conspiracy theories, hand washing and whining.
A sampling of reactions after the jump.
The New York Times, in a fair take:
“It was bad,” said Jerry Remy, the Red Sox broadcaster and former second baseman. “People were still there because they had tickets, but the whole atmosphere was totally different than I’ve seen since the year leading up to the Aaron Boone home run. It was depressing, really. You’d go out on the street, and there wasn’t that buzz.”
The buzz is back, officially. …
The posting fee for Matsuzaka seemed to signal a departure from a philosophy of restraint.
Joel Sherman must be interposing his own thoughts for the Yankee front office because surely Cashman is not so stupid to think a tax-free, non-payroll posting fee will somehow hamper the Sox:
Thus, the Yanks could be witnessing their most bitter rival exerting its financial might with a quick 1-2, $100 million-plus statement [with J.D. Drew being the other]. The Yanks’ bid on Matsuzaka was considerably lower and, privately, they feel Boston’s total outlay for the righty will be too high and could keep it from addressing other shortcomings. …
We will see if that discipline holds now that the Yanks’ No. 1 offseason target, Matsuzaka, very well could be heading to Red Sox Nation. In the recent past, the Yanks would follow George Steinbrenner’s lead by overreacting. Restraint is the right call. …
The feeling at the GM Meetings was that Scott Boras, who represents Matsuzaka, would now try to bypass Cashman and get directly to Steinbrenner to see if he will, indeed, overreact and pay big for Barry Zito.
Thought that last paragraph was interesting. Bill Maddon goes off the deep end, somehow forgetting that the Yankees will twice have coughed up more money for pitchers (Brown and Mussina) than the Red Sox will pay for Matsuzaka:
By bidding such an outrageous number, the Red Sox are essentially saying, in their minds, Matsuzaka is a No. 1 starting pitcher in the major leagues, worthy of more money than any pitcher in the history of the game, even though he’s never thrown a single pitch in the majors. Because on top of that, they are going to have to negotiate a contract with Matsuzaka’s agent, Scott Boras, who almost surely is going to tell them: "You’ve made it clear how highly you regard my client, now how about showing him the money."
You have to believe Boras’ starting point with the Red Sox is going to be the $14.5 million per year, Houston’s Roy Oswalt’s industry benchmark deal for starting pitchers last year.
Yeah, so that makes no sense. Mike Plugh, to his credit, has made a lot of sense:
In either case, the Red Sox and Yankees rivalry is now global. The frontlines are drawn and they extend all the way around the world. For fans who are already sick of the two teams, it’s more nausea. For Yankees and Red Sox fans, it’s more fuel to the belief that the world revolves around the ebb and flow of Boston against New York.
Peter Abraham, even when giving the Red Sox their due, lets his sour grapes show through.
Take it at face value. The Red Sox needed a pitcher and they went and got one. The rest of the theories are just window dressing. Boston can’t sell any more tickets at Fenway Park and they aren’t going to paint the Sony logo on the Green Monster. They wanted this guy more than anybody else did because their pitching stinks. Schilling says he will retire after this year, Beckett was a disaster in the AL, poor Jon Lester has cancer, Clement is their Pavano and Wakefield is over 40. …
One thing is certain: Red Sox fans can no longer complain that it isn’t fair that the Yankees spend so much. Hope those talks with Scott Boras are fun. They’ll cost $1,707,333 a day to conduct. Yikes.
Because the Yankees pitching clearly does not stink (Johnson and Pavano versus Beckett and Wakefield? Are you kidding?), and they clearly did not want Matsuzaka.
Replacement Level Yankees takes the middle road:
On the one hand, I’m disappointed the Yanks weren’t able to pick him up, on the other hand I think that’s an excessive amount of money to be spending just to be able to negotiate with someone so overall I don’t feel too terrible. The Red Sox rotation is now potentially an excellent one, but that’s assuming Daisuke adapts to the AL smoothly and Josh Beckett rebounds. … No player on Earth is worth 51.1 million to negotiate with unless he’s then going to sign for 10 million and 10 years.
Well, technically, that’s no longer true. It is quite an excessive bid though. Henry and Epstein must really be expecting Pedro-like results both on the field and in his home country. Was Watching seems to give the more typical Yankee fan reaction:
This is a great day in Yankeeland. From this point forward, any bitching from John W. Henry, Larry Lucchino and/or Theo Epstein about the Yankees payroll carries the same legitimacy as Pam Anderson lamenting about Dolly Parton’s cleavage.
Yes, one gigantic starting pitching expenditure that does not count toward payroll makes up for equally (if not more so) gigantic payroll expenditures by the Yankees at 1B/DH, 3B, RF, CF and two starting pitching positions — and that’s just the current team, not counting the departed RF, the other massive starting pitching outlay, etc.