How much is baseball’s newest superstar worth?
Daisuke Matsuzaka is worth as much as the Red Sox are willing to pay him, of course. The right to negotiate with him alone was worth more than $50 million. So how much will it be worth to have him suit up and be on the mound in Kansas City April 4 or 5 and roughly every fifth day thereafter?
Needless to say, that’s difficult to ascertain, considering — as critics of the Sox’ outlandish bid keep reminding us — he’s never thrown a Major League pitch yet. Nevertheless, based on the much-ballyhooed tanslations from Japanese stats to American stats and last year’s PECOTA projections, Baseball Prospectus’ Joe Sheehan comes up with this list of 10 comparable pitchers:
WARP MORP (in millions)
Clemens 4.9 $8.25
Halladay 5.5 $10.13
Webb 6.4 $12.98
Sabathia 4.0 $6.08
Carpenter 5.4 $9.80
Schmidt 4.8 $8.10
Beckett 4.6 $7.45
Martinez 6.9 $14.65
Hudson 4.2 $6.45
Peavy 6.8 $14.38
Not only does that include every Cy Young candidate of 2006 (except Wang), it includes two future Hall of Famers and 13 Cy Young awards. Sheehan acknowledges also that Matsuzaka’s youth and clean injury record makes him closer to Webb and Peavy than Clemens and Schmidt.
To get the particulars, read the story, but Sheehan concludes that a conservative estimate of Matsuzaka’s value this year is $13 million. Of course, he could end up hating Boston, hating pitching every five games, blow out his elbow, or just plain suck — in which case his value would be far less.
Nevertheless, there’s little doubt that Theo Epstein and Co. are going to make Daisuke Matsuzaka worth quite a bit of money by Dec. 15 — and be justified in doing so.
(To me, Dice-K is worth $40, which is how much I paid for a trio
of his 1999 Japanese rookie cards, but that’s neither here nor there).