The View From the Other Side

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.

30 comments… add one
  • Paul, you keep harping on the fact that the posting fee is not a payroll expenditure, but i’m not quite sure why. no, it won’t count against their luxury tax ledger, but it’s still 51 million dollars that the company needs to lay out. The overall contract may be equitable to a typical free agent signing at a lower figure (exactly what this would be i’m not sure), but it would still be a monster deal. I’m not sure that this signals any change in organizational philiosophy. I’m guessing the Sox saw a need, and then figured both what they could afford to pay and what they felt would be required to place the high bid. It looks like they overshot, but, again, we have no real idea what this means to the team, absent a financial statement.
    You suggest that there’ve been a lot of negative comments from Yanks fans, but it seems to me that the YF reaction from the authors of this site has been pretty well consistently positive. For every sour-grapes YF commenter, there seems to be at least one overly defensive SF, griping about how the Yanks blew their opportunity, that they are still the REALLY big spenders, and that the Bomber rotation is a shambles. It’s not just us, it’s you too.
    I suggest a moratorium on the finger pointing.

    YF November 15, 2006, 1:13 am
  • Personally, I’d rather have a young guy with high upside than any sort of moral high ground about payroll or whatever.
    Good round up, Paul. While a lot of these writers make some perfectly valid and good points, a lot of it also reeks of sour grapes. I can practically see the steam coming out of their ears as they furiously type out the words.

    mouse November 15, 2006, 1:13 am
  • You still can’t have it both ways.. =P Who pays payroll again? The same Henry or NESN etc. It’s an accounting trick, but still a chunk of money, and unless the Sox are going to go over the luxury tax for the next few years, it’s still $$ not kept.
    That’s still under the assumption that there’s a ceiling, but if you lift that assumption, then you’re the Yankees, since Yankees haven’t cared for quite some time now..
    Brown was unforunate, but he did have good years here and there. Not for the Yanks though. Moose was a workhorse for the O’s that probably should’ve won a few Cy Youngs if he had won more games.
    If your defense is that “but but.. Yanks paid more!”, it’s sounding like the good ol’ “but but.. Clinton” spiel.. you might still be a few years behind the Yanks (in terms of salary) but still a truckload ahead of everyone else..
    (Of course, we’ll see when more of the FA’s get signed!)

    Lar November 15, 2006, 1:17 am
  • YF: I think they just hate that their team is becoming the team they’ve hated. ;) (Teasing! So much flame around lately..)

    Lar November 15, 2006, 1:19 am
  • I’ve never seen a topic involving a singular player generate so many posts in such a short span, including ARod when he was in the August doghouse. Remarkable. Anyway, I reiterate: fiscally, I can’t see this as being anything but a great thing for the Sox. They will spend 50 million to get a contract, off book, kind of like DOD budgets. The contract will probably be 40 million over three. Daisuke vs. Hideki will pay great dividends for both BOS and NYY. Frankly, regardless of what Matsuzaka does as a starter, Boston will make their money back. This is a marketing decision, and a damned smart one.
    Will his thirty starts equate to another trip to the post-season for Boston? That’s the 100 million dollar question, but since they will get their money back, does it matter? Boston won this round on the ledger. Now all we have to do is play ball.

    attackgerbil November 15, 2006, 1:34 am
  • Paul, maybe it’s on purpose, but you’re being quite antagonisitc with this Dmat deal. I know how depressing things got for you Soxfans when the 2006 season started to swirl down the toilet; so the collective enthusiasm is understandable at winning the sweepstakes. But you’re acting like a guy who thinks his team just sealed the AL East for 2007.

    bloodyank78 November 15, 2006, 2:28 am
  • Sounds to me that YF’s are a lil’ jealous! A taste of their own medicine is good for them. Hell, we don’t even know what D-Mat is going to do, but the Sox have him & it makes YF’s nuts. Yanks have come up short for the past 6 years with a 200+million payroll. Get over it!!!!!!!

    lee-visor November 15, 2006, 6:03 am
  • congrats on landing the rights, first of all.
    he should be solid. whether he’s worth this kind of money will be determined over the next few years. no one will know for some time.
    i just don’t understand the argument about the posting bid not costing the sox anything. …that they’ll get it back in revenue generated… isn’t that what all businesses plan for when they pay out cash? that the investment will be returned? isn’t that what hicks said when he signed rodriguez to his deal? i’m sure he expected to sell out more games, sell jerseys, etc. all of this money has to come from somewhere. (unless they don’t have to pay all of the bid. which is still a genius move, and one i was hoping ca$hman would pull off.)
    and yes. most yankee fans are a bit jealous. (yours truly included. i’ve been day dreaming about this kid in ‘stripes for months.) but i don’t think that there will be any chair throwing in most instances.

    Yankee Fan In Boston November 15, 2006, 6:20 am
  • YF:
    I think Paul’s done a fair job of rounding up commentary. I think you are being a bit dismissive of a fine post, whether you agree with Paul’s take or not.
    And Paul points out that the $51.1M is different from payroll money. I am finding it continually frustrating that this is either ignored or denied by many people of significant brainpower. Calling it a different type of expenditure doesn’t make it a non-expenditure. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with trying to understand this bid in fair economic context, and lumping all dollars together denies that possibility.
    As for the reaction, the only one that bothers me seriously (and I could be misintrepreting) was Peter Abraham’s “poor Jon Lester” line, which, considering the tone of his piece (biting and harsh — “their pitching stinks”), comes off not as sympathetic (the guy has cancer, for f*ck’s sake) but really, really nasty and utterly unprofessional. Am I reading this correctly? Did anyone else see it this way? Forget allegiances – I am curious to know how people read his comment.

    SF November 15, 2006, 7:12 am
  • Hmm…I think you’re overreacting, SF. Abraham’s post is a little crass, but I don’t think it’s indefensible. He’s a Yankee homer and he does have something of a point about the Sox pitching. And you can read the “poor Jon Lester” comment any way you want – strikes me he was just running through the state of your starting rotation (as was at the start of last year).
    As for Paul’s post…sigh. I’ve said many times I think it’s a good baseball move and I don’t care about the dollars since it’s not my money, but I’m starting to find this na-na-na-nyah tone very off-putting. So we get to read Paul pat on the back any article that matches his (incredibly biased) viewpoint and take to piece anything he doesn’t agree with.
    The Was Watching post is a fair one to me. The issue isn’t just about payroll, a meme which all you oh-so-sincere SFs are pushing, but also about simply flashing the cash. The Sox and their fans have longed complained about the Yankees’ ability to use their money to get the players they want (Evil Empire, anyone?), well, now the Sox have done so in the most spectacular way imaginable. Again, I reiterate – good luck to them. I think it’s a real coup by Theo and Co and I’m (sadly) sure DMat will be a huge success. But please, drop the attitude.

    Sam November 15, 2006, 8:57 am
  • It’s way over the top – and if the Yankees did that for him I’d be ashamed. I also don’t think he’ll stay healthy for long – but time will tell that. Should be interesting to see how he pitches!

    batty November 15, 2006, 9:21 am
  • And no – the ‘poor John Lester’ comment was meant as that. He responds to a comment in his blog that he feels really badly for the kid and has wished him well in his recovery when the news came out.

    batty November 15, 2006, 9:23 am
  • Have all the teams made official satements as to what their bid was?
    I haven’t seen it yet, so correct me if I’m wrong.
    But, in light of that, none of us really knows what the other bids were beyond speculation and rumors.
    For all you know, all the bids were in the high 40s, hell, the Yankee bid could have been 51.0, we don’t know.
    Oh and again, one posting fee for one pitcher does not erase the Yankees outspending every other team in baseball by a huge margin for years.

    LocklandSF November 15, 2006, 9:39 am
  • If the Sox could not afford it, they would not have done it. Period. For a few years now, Sox fans have paid more than any other fan to see games, purchase shirts (world series ones, no less) and other memoribilia. The Red Sox owed it to it’s fan base to make a splash, and they did just that. It’s in no way going to hamper their abilities to sign other free agents and fill holes they need filled. If it would, they would not have done all this.

    Brad November 15, 2006, 9:46 am
  • I meant to in the post, so I’ll say it for the record here — the YFs on this site have been far above the norm as far as the level of discourse.
    I have a hard time seeing where I did a lot of “nah-nah” ing in that post, or where I’m being antagonistic. I do feel the Sox pulled off a coup — I had hoped they would do it but realistically believed the Yankees would win the bidding. So I’m definitely enthusiastic.
    If I’m antagonistic anywhere it’s in insisting that the $51.11M is not payroll money. Why is that important, as YF asked? Because it’s akin to spending money to revamp Fenway, or buy NASCAR, or anything else that could ultimately pump more money to the Red Sox but don’t keep them from spending the payroll (ie salary) money they need to this off-season. That’s why it’s such a terrific move. Is the cost exhorbitant? Absolutely. Does anyone other than ken Rosenthal seriously believe the Sox ownership can’t afford it? No. Does it count against payroll or the luxury tax, thus potentially hampering future deals and making this deal worse in the long run than it potentially already could be? Again, no.
    To me, it’s a no-brainer, which is why I’ve been harping on it — and why I’m so surprised, considering the dearth of quality starting pitching this offseason, that the Yankees didn’t go higher.
    I apologize if I’ve pissed anyone off. I’m not trying to do that. I’ve been quite impressed with the level of discourse on here the last few days, and as I said in an email this morning, I think YFSF has been second only to SOSH in collective information and civil dialogue provided about the Matsuzaka deal.

    Paul SF November 15, 2006, 10:25 am
  • Lockland, In today’s NY Times, Tyler Kepner reported the Yankee bid was just over 30 mil.

    Andrews November 15, 2006, 10:39 am
  • All Ican say is wake the damn Bambino so D-Mat can drill him in the ass.

    josh q public November 15, 2006, 11:01 am
  • Andrews, I didn’t realize Tyler Kepner worked in the Yankees FO.
    There is no way for us to know for sure what the other team bids were.

    LocklandSF November 15, 2006, 11:07 am
  • Rumors place it in the following hierarchy:
    Red Sox — $51 million
    Mets — $38 million
    Yankees — $30-plus million
    Rangers/Cubs — under $30 million

    Paul SF November 15, 2006, 11:14 am
  • Well, what that tells me is that the Sox *really* wanted their man. I don’t/won’t buy all this talk of them being foolish for overpaying. They put in a bid which they knew (hoped) would blow all the others out of the water. Can’t fault them for that.

    Sam November 15, 2006, 11:20 am
  • Lockland, you’re right. As the Yanks beat writer, I’m sure Kepner couldn’t possibly have connections in the Yanks FO who could lay that info on him. Silly me…

    Andrews November 15, 2006, 11:21 am
  • Listen, I hate the yankees as much as the next guy, but I’ve never complained about the money. Them’s the rules. You do what you can to win. If that means spending a bundle, so be it. If you can’t compete, maybe you shouldn’t own a team. Just win baby!

    josh q public November 15, 2006, 11:33 am
  • No, Andrews – you’re definitely correct here. In fact, I’d imagine that the Yankee beat writer has no real connection to the team. Also, silly us for thinking that maybe, just maybe someone in the Yankee FO would “slip” a bid amount that saved the Yankee FO a little face in the situation. If the Yankees say they bid 32mill, they look like good business men in the deal, and this makes Boston look even sillier. But, until I read something or I hear a GM say what the bid was, I’ll hold off on putting all of our cards on what a beat writer/team unofficial spokesman says on the situation.
    FWIW, Cafardo once said the “a team source” said the Red Sox were on the verge of trading John Lester for Jake Peavey last yeare at the deadline. What official? Who? Name names, beatwriters!

    Brad November 15, 2006, 11:34 am
  • My point Andrews, is that we will never know for sure what the other team bids were and it’s silly to pass judgement on the Red Sox bid using other team’s bids that are based purely on rumor and speculation.
    If I was inside one of those front offices, I would leak a low number to show that the Red Sox are crazy, etc…

    LocklandSF November 15, 2006, 11:36 am
  • I also know that Yankee fans would be a great deal more upset if that found out that the Yankees missed the bid by only a few hundred thousand.

    LocklandSF November 15, 2006, 11:38 am
  • Lockland – You can say that about every transaction. The problem is that SFs has consistently bitched about the Yanks for the same reasons every time.
    I’ll probably be more upset, mostly because I’m not really that upset right now.
    The logical fallacies are stacking up way too high.. you might as well as say that the 51.11 mil $ isn’t real, because technically, that’s not official either. For all we know, they might’ve bidded 42 mil!

    Lar November 15, 2006, 11:45 am
  • I don’t think Cashman is as concerned about winning the postseason splash war without Steinbrenner’s direct involvement, so to me the 30mil area sounds believeable. Obviously, the Yanks were interested ( as well they should be if they saw the same vid posted here, wow!), but we already have a share of the Japanese market, so there wasn’t as much to gain business-wise. It also stands to reason that Yanks FO is gun-shy when it comes to foreign pitchers with no MLB experience.

    Andrews November 15, 2006, 11:49 am
  • True Lar, it could have been 42, that’s more to my point. I just don’t like the way people are using the rumor bids to judge the rumor winning bid, it’s silly because none of us know for sure.

    LocklandSF November 15, 2006, 11:50 am
  • From the article on
    “You put your best foot forward and you make your evaluations,” Cashman said. “He’s a tremendous pitcher and I congratulate the Red Sox. Obviously I have work to do in trying to improve our club going forward as we always do. We’ll see where this all takes us. All I can do is wish Boston good luck and we’ll focus on addressing our needs on the free agent and trade markets.”
    The Rangers came in at $27 million and even team owner Tom Hicks said he was fooled by the amount of money tossed around in the bidding.
    “I bet we finished second, but a distant second,” Hicks said. “When we made our bid last week, we really thought we were going to win. We had no idea somebody was going to bid so high.”

    It’s pretty bad when Hicks got outbidded by 24 million. And that, we know “for sure”..

    Lar November 15, 2006, 11:52 am
  • Sorry to be a pain Lar, but Hicks doesn’t mention the number, none of the teams have actually said a number.
    “I bet we finished second, but a distant second,”
    Even Hicks doesn’t know where his bid fell.

    LocklandSF November 15, 2006, 2:50 pm

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