Friday, November 10, 2006

Matsuzaka to Red Sox for $38-45M Bid?

Did the Red Sox win the bidding for the rights to try to sign top-line import starting pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka? Rumor has it their bid -- again, this was the payment simply to get the rights to try to sign him -- was between $38-45 million.

Given the way Theo appreciates quantitative valuation methods, that would be a hell of an affirmation of his value. But then again: What price for a No. 1 starter for a team that missed the playoffs last season -- not to mention the defensive move of keeping him away from the Yankees?

(Speaking of the Yankees, they traded Sheffield to the Tigers for three pitchers that aren't part of last year's core. Who else thinks Sheff has a better chance of reaching the World Series faster as part of his new team than he would be remaining on the old team?)

The Hot Stove Season has officially begun.


john (east lansing, mi) said...

Die-soo-key Mat-zoo-za-ka?

Poor Tim McCarver.

big bri said...

There are good players and then there are players who can perform in markets as intense as Boston and New York. Jeff Weaver for example; a bust in NY and a clutch pitcher in the playoffs for the Cards. Same can be said about Jeff Suppan during his time in Boston. All this means nothing until the season starts. Anyone remember Contreras' career as a Yankee?
In the end I think the Yank's lost out on getting some potential major league ready pitching from Detroit's starters and the Red Sox are just avoiding some media scrutiny by not letting the Yankee's beat them out in another bidding war. Theo's overrated.

john (east lansing, mi) said...

Also -

Now I have to be excited about that bat swaying up and down when the pitch is on the way? Fuck, I hate that.

ToddTheJackass said...

Okay, first of all, there are basically 3 possibilities I see in this:

1) The Red Sox really did do this, and figured that there was something to teams supposedly bidding up to $30 million, and desperately wanted to get this guy. Even though they wouldn't have a lefty in the rotation, the front office may have figured Matsuzaka was better than any lefty on the market (which I believe he is, at least to the Red Sox). Also, some of this money would be offset by gains from Japanese corporations who now would be advertising for the Red Sox, and presumably covering the Red Sox.

2) The Red Sox just wanted to make sure he didn't go to the Yankees, so they bid this much for him, have no intention of offering him a serious contract, and so he won't be able to come over to the Yankees or any other team this year.

3) This rumor isn't true at all.

This will make everyone whose not in the Northeast sick to their stomach, but if Matsuzaka goes to the Red Sox, the Yankees/Red Sox rivalry will be even bigger. It'll be global!

Jared said...

I don't understand all the fuss about this guy... seems like every pitcher that comes over from Asia is either a flash in the pan, or a bust. It's this kind of wasteful spending that lets small-market teams win.

ToddTheJackass said...

Okay, that being said, here's what I know about Matsuzaka.

He's young, 26 I believe, and is a complete phenom in Japan, where his high school career achieved mythic proportions. He's been the best pitcher in Japan for a few years now.

His stock rose immeasurably pitching in the WBC, where he was the tournament MVP, basically shutting down everyone he faced with an ERA below 2.00. Major League scouts loved him, because unlike many Japanese pitchers, Matsuzaka's fastball is a legit mid 90s fastball, and his breaking pitches give him a solid out-pitch. Additionally, he's able to throw a fastball in non-fastball counts, and a slider in non-slider counts well because he mixes his stuff up well, and does a good job keeping hitters off balance.

He has had a considerable workload, basically working on no pitch counts when in high school (throwing well over 200 in the national championship series in one game). Also he has always had five days rest in Japan, different from the four days here in the US.

But a lot of his notoriety comes over rumors that he throws a "gyroball" as his out-pitch. From what I've read, no one's really sure of whether he actually throws it, or if it's just a shuuto, which is a type of slider they typically throw in Japan. The Gyroball was actually developed and conceptualized by Japanese scientists, who determined it could put a unique spin on the ball basically equivalent to a double-slider. Additionally, it is supposed to, through its unique arm action, actually reduce the stress on the shoulder.

There's a clip on the internet that supposedly shows Matsuzaka throwing the gyro. And if you see the clip, the ball does seem do have that double spin on it. Yet if you look closely, it's not a true gyroball, in that as developed by the physicists, his arm goes toward first base instead of third base. This makes it more like a screwball or a shuuto than a gyroball.

Plus Matsuzaka himself has stated that he's tried throwing it in practice, but it's unconfirmed from what I've read whether or not he actually throws it.

I hope that's enough of a synopsis of Matsuzaka. Maybe try Wikipedia for more? I was just typing what I've heard/seen.

ToddTheJackass said...

I should add, that unlike Irabu (that "fat pussy toad"), Matsuzaka is supposed to have a great work ethic as well.

-Todd (Boston)

big bri said...

the supposed "gyroball"

Aitch said...

I'm a huge sox fan, as you can see by my pic. I'm very, VERY skeptical of this kid though. he may be great in Japan, but as was mentioned in another post, Japanese pitchers have had a hard time adjusting to MLB. So I'm taking a wait and see approach to it before I get too excited.

That being said, if the rumor is true and the sox did have the top bid, I'm glad. Only because if they can't come to an agreement on a contract, no other team will get him. And if he does end up being as great as advertised, at least the Yankees won't have...well at least this year. lol

Unknown said...

People are going to make too big of a deal out of the idea that the Sox might have way overpaid to get the chance to talk to this kid. $40 million would be nothing in the grand scheme of things if this is legit.

The Red Sox have a huge stake in the Dominican market right now because of the popularity of Pedro a couple yeas ago, Manny, and David Ortiz. They make a lot of money off their schools and scouting endevours in Latin America and bringing in this kid will only help them in the Asian market.

Right now if you saw press row at Red Sox games you'd notice they look like an alumni board meeting for Harvard (middle aged/older white guys). If it's true about this kid coming to Boston (possibly) all of a sudden (like Seattle with Ichiro) Asian reporters will be covering the team every day.

You don't think a guy like Charles Steinberg, or Tom Warner knows how to exploit the new exposure in Asia? You don't think all of a sudden NESN will be available on satallite dishes all over the Far East?

There is a big risk with this - considering he is like 26 but has thrown a 30 year olds amount of pitches but I think it's a huge difference from a guy like Weaver or Beckett or anyone like that. This kid will be an international superstar and it will help the Red Sox compete in a market that has been cornered by the Yankees (Matsui) and the Mariners.