Ah, you know how the saying goes. As expected, Scott Boras’ press conference didn’t exactly provide us with many answers. Here’s Gordon Edes’ take — the only person at this moment reporting on the conference in print:
With agent Scott Boras declaring last night that if "the parties’ positions remain the same, Daisuke will return to Japan,” the Red Sox top brass were in southern California to meet face-to-face with Daisuke Matsuzaka in a last-ditch attempt to induce him to sign.
Boras said that GM Theo Epstein, accompanied by principal owner John W. Henry and CEO Larry Lucchino, had come to conduct negotiating sessions last night and today in an attempt to beat Thursday’s midnight deadline for a deal.
This seems more encouraging — all sides are hunkering down for marathon negotiations. I’d rather that than the negitation-via-media we’ve had the last two days. Likewise, the throwaway statement that Matsuzaka will return to Japan if "the parties’ positions remain the same" is completely noninformational. The only way that wouldn’t happen was if both parties’ positions were already in agreement, and we know that’s untrue.
Update: The AP story has the following nuggets from Boras:
“The posting fee represents the problem,” Boras said. “It’s historic, it’s new, it’s something that’s never been done. How do you reflect value in a posting fee in an appropriate contract for a player?" …
“The progress is something I’m not going to comment on,” he said. “I’m not going to characterize the negotiations. This is not a customary negotiation. The question is, with a posting fee, how do you handle that?” …
“This decision is going to be Daisuke’s, he has to make the call,” Boras said.
It seems clear that Scott Boras is chafing under the process and doesn’t have a way to break it without also breaking his duty to his client. The posting fee took away his leverage, and now that the negotiations have truly begun, he has little room with which to work. As he finally acknowledged, it’s Matsuzaka’s decision, and that is why the pitcher will be beaming and holding up the No. 18 on Friday morning.
Maybe I’m crazy, but I see this press conference as an encouraging development.