Friday, December 01, 2006

The First Baseman

So, here we are. We've put ourselves close to signing a "back end rotation" pitcher, with good upside in Igawa. There's a catching issue and a first base issue that remain up in the air. I'll throw you an idea or two that I'm looking towards to answer the first base spot. Talking about the back up catcher is a bit like devoting time to discussion on a punter.

I think the Yankees would do well to go out and resign Craig Wilson. Everyone and their brother is calling for the Yankees to do this, and it makes sense. He can do a lot of things on the field, including play 3rd catcher, and he hits lefties like Jim Leyland smokes cigarettes. According to BR's projections, Wilson will sport a 12.5 VORP in 2007 (his primary position is listed as RF, but BR takes into account all possible positional scenarios in defining that number). The other name being mentioned for the Yankees opening is Shea Hillenbrand. His 2007 projected VORP is 8.2, listed primarily at first. Wilson's EQA the last three seasons has been .285, .289, .273 (.199 with the Yanks), while Hillenbrand comes in at .267, .265, and a .265/.231 split between Toronto and SF last year. Wilson had a lefty/righty OPS split of .843/.710 last year and a career split of .938/.793! Hillenbrand posted .862/.728 last year and has career marks of .801/.763, which is fairly consistent.

For my money, I'll take the guy who is already on my team and who has a long track record of absolutely MASHING lefties. Wilson is a year younger, and doesn't carry any of the clubhouse baggage with him that Hillenbrand does. My vote is Craig Wilson. There is one other intriguing choice that I may be in a special position to write about. That choice is Julio Zuleta of the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks. He has filed for free agency and by all accounts would love to play in the Majors again, if given the chance. I'll give you a quick blurb about him, and then project some numbers to help size him up against Wilson.

Julio Zuleta is 6'5" tall and 235 pounds. He was born in Panama City and came to the US as a minor league player in the Cubs system from the age of 18. After several not-so-remarkable years in Rookie and Low-A ball Zuleta was given the chance to play ball at Single-A Daytona. In 1998, Zuleta had a breakout year by hitting .344/.405/.549 in 94 games, before getting bumped to AA. He rounded out the '98 campaign by hitting .295/.347/.403 for the Western Tennessee club in the Southern League. By all accounts a very strong season for the 23 year old prospect. How did he follow that up in 1999?

.295/.361/.519 and a post-season nod as the Southern League's top firstbaseman. Not too shabby, if you ask me. What happens to 24 year old prospects who tear up AA to the tune of being named their league's top position player? That's right...they move to AAA to start the following year. At AAA Iowa in 2000, Zuleta hit .311/.372/.579 in 107 games and posted 26 homers, 94 RBIs and a 31/77 BB to K ratio. He got the big call and played 30 games for the Cubs. A dream come true.

In those 30 games in the Majors, Zuleta went .294/.342/.541 in almost a mirror image of his AAA and AA work of the previous two seasons. Granted, the sample size was only 68 at bats, but it's impressive nonetheless. He looked to be on his way to stardom, as all eyes in Cubbieland were on the promising young hitter from Panama. He disappointed to open the 2001 season, however by delivering .217/.288/.415 over 49 games and 106 ABs. It's hard to imagine that a guy would have the plug pulled on him so soon after having such tremendous minor league numbers, but it happened. He went back to Iowa and raked at .308/.348/.541 in 37 games.

Zuleta found himself back at Iowa to open the 2002 season. It had to be frustrating for the talented young slugger, but he would surely see Wrigley again if he could only hit at Iowa one more time. He did. .293/.362/.550 over 120 games wasn't good enough to get another call up, however, and he was eventually let go. As a minor league free agent, Zuleta signed with the Red Sox organization at the end of 2002, and was slated to join Pawtucket to open the next year. Maybe the Red Sox would give him his break. In 55 games with the AAA club, Zuleta went .275/336/.505 in 55 games, but never got the call. Finally, the Fukuoka Hawks came calling, and the now 28 year old answered. Can you blame him? With those numbers, a Major League club should have given him a longer leash in the show to demonstrate his ability.

With the Hawks in 2003, Julio went .266/.364/.514 and .321 with RISP. In 67 games and 214 at bats, he hit 13 home runs and won over his new team. He also helped lead them to the Japan Series title. If he couldn't make the Bigs, he could play in the next best league in the world and get paid. He made about $400,000 to play those 67 games and got a salary bump to about $475,000 for the 2004 campaign. In 2004, the Hawks reaped the benefits of Zuleta's new comfort zone in Japan, and watched him go .284/.389/.567 with 37 homers and 100 RBIs in 130 games.

For an encore to his first full season, Zuleta put up his best season. He hit .319/.392/.646 with 43 home runs and 99 RBIs in 131 games. He hit .323 with RISP and put the fear of God in Japanese pitchers everywhere. That brings me to this year. Zuleta's salary peaked at about a million a season in 2005 and 2006, and he was getting frustrated by the way Japanese pitchers were throwing at him. At 31, his best years were slipping away in Japan and he longed to make a move to the US. There might just be money and a regular job waiting for him after 2006, and he could put a capper on his career if he could just get a chance. Frustration boiled over one day against the eventual champion Nippon Ham Fighters, and....I'll let Gary Garland of Japanese Baseball Daily do the honors.....

"It's bad enough that the Softbank Hawks have been shutout in their last three games against Nippon Ham. Now they will be without their number five hitter, Julio Zuleta, after the 6'5" 250 pound Panamanian slugger was hit by an 83mph pitch in the sixth on a 2-2 count and decided to charge Fighters starter Satoru Kanemura , 6'2" 180 pounds, who he hit, grabbed, tackled, tumbled to the ground with, and forearmed in the side of the face before Hawks DH Nobuhiko Matsunaka and other players separated them. Zuleta went immediately to the dugout, got his stuff and headed for the clubhouse. Matsunaka got a couple shots to the face amid the tangle of bodies, too. After seven minutes of being treated for his injuries, Kanemura returned to the hill and got rightfielder Hiroshi Shibahara to fly out to end the inning and his night in a 4-0 victory."

Trey Hillman, manager of the Fighters, called it an embarassment to the game, and Zuleta's manager Sadaharu Oh apologized to the media. Gary comments in his recap of the game that he felt it was dumb, and I would agree in a vaccuum, but Zuleta had been hit 19 times by Nippon Ham and I think we can all understand that after the 18th time he must have said, "If these mother f%&^%ers hit me one more time. Just one more time." Zuleta was suspended 10 games, and finished the season at .281/.359/.515 with 29 homers and 91 RBIs in 126 games. In the postseason, Zuleta hit an eighth inning 3 run homer to eliminate Daisuke Matsuzaka's Seibu Lions from the playoffs. Matsuzaka won the first of the 3 contests, but his teammates couldn't finish it off, and Zuleta was the hero. Now he's a free agent. He was a non-roster invitee for the Red Sox at the 2005 Spring Training, will he actually make it back in 2007?

What's the market for a guy that posted these lines over the last 11 seasons:

Single-A (.293/367/.437)
AA (.295/.359/.493)
AAA (.298/.359/.551)
Japan (.291/.378/.568)

He missed the mark at the Major League level when he was a younger man. .247/.309/.466 over 79 games and 174 at bats is a ridiculous sample size. That's a little over 2 at bats per game. Hardly a fair evaluation of a guy who has consistently, and I mean consistently, produced at every other level in the world. 1251 games and 4495 ABs at Single-A and above, with staggeringly consistent offensive numbers ought to be enough to land a multi-million dollar contract at 31 years old. Perhaps the Yankees are the team to give it to him. What might he do in pinstripes should he make the move? He has hit .273 with 7 homers against the potential Red Sox ace.

I did a few rough number crunches, and glanced at Hideki Matsui's sample to determine a reasonable statistical transfer. I moved some of the homers into the doubles column, by way of actual calculations and eyeballed what I thought was fair. Here's what I came up with.

162 Games
570 ABs
157 Hits
35 Doubles
28 Home Runs
60 Walks
.275/.360/.484 for an .844 OPS

Mind you, those numbers are very rough, and smarter heads than I may look at the huge sample of .290/.360/.550 and say that he can do that at the Major League level too. I prefer to leave that to them, and to the imagination. My number still rank Zuleta as a kind of Richie Sexson player. He may come in a little lighter on the power, but he may also duplicate it. He has the size and strength. Look at Cecil Fielder's pre-Japan numbers in the minors, his one season in Japan, and his Major League production, and tell me Zuleta can't find part of the same succes. At any rate, he'll come much cheaper than Sexson's $13 million a year. I reserve the right to change my mind on Craig Wilson, and opt for the guy that could come much cheaper and bang out a Richie Sexson season for the Yankees. Go get 'im Cash Money.

55 comments:

singledd said...

Hey Mike... You asked where $13 mil came from.

[from NY newspaper] "In that light, Igawa is more appealing for the Yankees, even if he is no better than a No. 5 starter. The $26 million the Yankees bid to negotiate is not subject to luxury taxes. With no other teams competing, the Yankees are hopeful of signing Igawa to a four-year deal for $18 million, at most."

If so, here's the cost
$26 mil - Bid
$18 mil - Salary
$7.2 mil - Tax (40% on salary)
$51.2 Total / 4 years = $12.8/yr actual cost

Ted Lilly, et al
$36/4 years - salary
$14.4 - tax (40% on salary)
$50.4 Total / 4 years = $12.6/yr actual cost

So basically, Igawa costs us the same as a 9.2 mil/yr guy.

Since the bid cost is exempt from Tax, in order to compare player costs, you have to look at the Tax issue.

The $13 mil ($12.8) included 40% tax on salary.

Mike Plugh said...

Gotcha. I still think he's better than the rest by a little anyway. Good to try new blood instead of rehashing the same old characters.

If he's the same as Lilly, you basically are a wash on the salary and get a little marketing in Osaka.

If he's better, you stole him.

If he's worse, I guess you shrug and say, "We tried." If you're the Yankees, anyway.

Al said...

I found this in youtube. By Watching this Video I noticed that Matsuzaka's vulnerable and weakness against Right handers than lefties.


Julio Zuleta homerun vs Matsuzaka

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H-XB2x8bw6o




Julio Zuleta homerun vs Matsuzaka

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H-XB2x8bw6o

Anonymous said...

As a Panamanian, I can tell you that what Zuleta thought was probably more along the lines of:

"Si este chucha de su madre me golpea, le voy a sacar la mierda".

Just thought you would want the clarification.

JRVJ

Alfred said...

Is it just me, or does Zuleta have a real funky finish to his swing?

Japan said...

Another video -of Zuleta's

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d5gsvBwr2M0

Zuleta's is another version of Preston Wilson .

Jason said...

Here's another video of Zuleta. 2005 Playoffs Softbank hawks versus Bobby Valentine Chiba Lotte marines.



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jf59ScwgFyg

Alex Khalifa said...

Hit 19 times by the same team? I think Gandhi would've charged the mound by then.

Eric S. said...

Interesting analysis about Zuleta, Mike. If he plays better defense than Giambi, it could be worth it, although I think Wilson also deserves some consideration. One question, can 28 HR really be expected from him when Hideki Matsui, a 40-50 homerun guy in Japan several times, has only gone over 23 homeruns once in his three full seasons with the Yanks?

Jason said...

I think Zuleta's much better patient hitter than Hillenbrand. He won't chased pitches out of strikezone.

Jason said...

http://japanesebaseball.com/players/player.jsp?PlayerID=1642

Here's Zuleta stats in Japan. The Homeruns numbers in japan doesn't translate here in the Us. So, I think his homeruns will be cut in half and He will hits between 10-15 homerun.

Jay said...

Zuleta's a unrestricted free agent and has good numbers against Matsuzaka. He will be cheap and cost less than Signing Hillenbrand. The Yankees would not forfeit and lose any draft picks by signing him. I'm hoping the Yankees would sign him to minor league deal and give it try.

Andy's Phillips proves last year He's not everday player but bench guy. I agree with you, Phillips is much better fielder but He's can't hit for average and strikeouts a ton.

Al said...

Speculative, But, Could It Be True?, ...we'll see



http://www.nj.com/weblogs/yankees/

Thursday, November 30, 2006

The Matsu-saga continues
Very interesting e-mail from a rather informed and reasonable source came in:

Okay guys, here's what I've heard through the grapevine on this...The Red Sox will hold out trying to lowball Dice-K [Matsuzaka]. And when I say hold out, I mean to the point where it becomes it was obvious just a blocking manuever to keep him from the Yankees. He wants $15Mx3Y, sox are offering 8Mperx4Y, "oceans apart". I've been told that if the Sox knew the Mets had the second highest bid ($38M), higher than the Yankees ($32M), they never would have bid $51.11 to win him. That comes from a very good source. Moreover, what I heard from the same source who is close to negotiations that what will happen is that Selig, Boras, and Seibu have a deal in place, where Boras pays Seibu $25 mil (1/2 the Red Sox bid) and he owns the rights to Matsuzaka, and puts him on the market BY X-MAS for the highest bidder, and Selig has signed off on it...

So, take that for what it's worth. Probably some truth to it, and probably some game-of-telephone style exaggerations. If Matsuzaka goes on the market, though, expect the Yanks to be huge players. But man, what an intriguing, juicy story. MLB.com's Fred Claire says the competition for the far east market is just adding a new element to the Yankee-Sox rivalry.

Garrett said...

Zuleta is from Panama, I'm sure Mo would take him in his wings and tell him what it's like to play in New York. I say we go for it, Hillenbrand is older and has attitude problem, he should be a 2nd option.


I'd rather get Zuleta though, because he's worked his *** off to get back to the majors. I think he's not going to take it for granted like Hillenbrand. I mean, Hillenbrand knocked his team when they were losing. Although I like the fire, if it gets to the point where the entire team hates him (and the team is forced to trade him), then why bother? I don't mind him as Plan B...but I just think Zuleta is a much better risk at this point, and mostly cheaper as well.

And it's not like we'll be sacrificing defense for offense either. Zuleta posted a .995 fld % in over 1,000 put outs. To have so few errors in a large amount of chances, that means he's got a good enough arm and glove to play the position well.

mars2001 said...

The Boston Globe says agent Scott Boras is looking to get Daisuke Matsuzaka a six-year deal worth $12 million per season.

Mike Plugh said...

eric s.,

"One question, can 28 HR really be expected from him when Hideki Matsui, a 40-50 homerun guy in Japan several times, has only gone over 23 homeruns once in his three full seasons with the Yanks?"

It's a good question. I answer, "yes, he can be expected to do it."

Why?

He hit 9 home runs in 174 MLB at bats for the Cubs. Multiply the at bats by 3 and you get a full season of 522, and 27 home runs. He hit at that rate in the minors, and he hit at that rate in the Majors in his small sample size.

Jake said...

If Hughes is suppose to be pretty good why not start him up with the big club in the bullpen to begin the season and slowly work him in to the starting rotation.



I have probably said this about a thousand times, but there is no one on this board that can claim to know that Hughes is not ready. Below is from a Jim Callis (official writer for Baseball America) chat the other day.

Chris ( S.I. N.Y.): Jim do you see Humberto Sanchez in the NYY 2007 Rotation at any point during the year?

Jim Callis: (2:02 PM ET ) I don't, at least not for very young. He's close to ready, but the plan seems to be go with Wang, Mussina, Johnson, Igawa and then Pavano/Karstens until Hughes is ready (I think he's ready now). I don't see much of an opportunity for Sanchez this year, at least not as a starter.

Now, someone will say all Jim Callis is just a writer. However, this guy has plenty of experience following and analyzing prospects. I take his opinion over anyone that writes on this board.

Now I am not saying, let's throw him in there right away, but I am certainly not against giving him a shot to win a spot out of spring training. The guy dominated AA, was essentially unhittable from July on. Plenty of prospects are skipping AAA and jumping right into the majors with success.

You can all stop with he doesn't have enough innings, there is no research that can associate minor league innings with success or avoiding injury. Not too mention they can monitor his innings in the major leagues as much or better than they could in the minors.

I read the argument that he doesn't need the pressure of being relied upon as the #2. Well who said he would be if he was brought up at the beginning of the season. He has Wang, Mussina, Johnson, Igawa ahead of him on the depth chart. That argument doesn't really make sense, the only time a true #1 is identified is at the start of the playoffs & the opening day start. Now some times rotations are shuffled to pitch big games but it doesn't happen all the time. The bottom line is if he comes up and is pitching like our #2 then that is exactly what he is and obviously he is ready to handle it. Wang wasn't our #1 going into the season, and I could have easily made the argument at the beginning of last season that he wasn't ready for that role. But clearly he was and he took control of that spot.

Anonymous said...

Hi Mike,

We've chatted once or three times on NYY Fans (MHMAJP over there). I have a tremendous amount of respect for your work and think that Zuleta could be a great pickup, especially if he's inexpensive and hits Matsuzaka-san well, but I just can't see him hitting that many HR. Also, the NYY could do both, hire him and Wilson. They're cheap enough and Wilson can also back up catcher and RF while being a PH against LHP.

Mike Plugh said...

Hey MHMAJP,

I guarantee he'll hit over 20 home runs if he plays full time in the Majors. That's not a special feat at all. He's huge, he has a proven track record at every level, and there's a precedent for this kind of situation already...Cecil Fielder. Fielder is revered because he came back and clubbed homers for 2-3 years, but his overall numbers weren't earth-shattering. Most of his OPS+ numbers were about 110-120. That's very good, but not something I have a hard time seeing Zuleta do as well, especially on the low end.

I don't think Cashman is going to carry two backup firstbasemen. If he does, the 2nd will almost assuredly be Andy Phillips, so I think you will see either Zuleta or Wilson, not both.

Al said...

The remainder of the Yankees' free agents -- Bernie Williams, Tanyon Sturtze, Octavio Dotel, Craig Wilson, Miguel Cairo, Nick Green and Sal Fasano -- were not offered arbitration before Friday night's deadline, as none of them would have garnered an extra draft pick for New York.

Under the old Collective Bargaining Agreement, any free agent who was not offered arbitration would have been ineligible to re-sign with his former team until May 1. Under the new CBA, free agents not offered arbitration may still sign with their old club at any time.
'


GoodBye Bernie. We will missed you.


source - yankees.com

Jason said...

Hey Mike Do you know anything about Kawakami, Kenshin ? Do you think He will be will be posted next year same as Matsuzaka and Igawa?



http://www.baseball-reference.com/bullpen/Kenshin_Kawakami

Kenshin Kawakami

Bats Right, Throws Right
Height 5' 10", Weight 198 lb.
Born June 22, 1975 in Tokushima Japan
Kenshin Kawakami was the first-round draft pick of the Chunichi Dragons in 1998. He immediately proved the choice to be a good one, as he won Rookie of the Year honors that season by going 14-6 with a 2.57 ERA. He was fourth in the Central League in wins and second in ERA, trailing only teammate Shigeki Noguchi.

The next three years proved to be a struggle for Kawakami, who went 16-22 over that span. He bounced back in 2002 with a 12-6, 2.35 season. For the second time in his career he was runner-up for the ERA lead, trailing Masumi Kuwata. He threw a no-hitter that year against the mighty Yomiuri Giants. In '03, Kawakami was limited to 8 games, but he had a strong season in 2004, going 17-7 with a 3.32 ERA. He won a Gold Glove, made the Best Nine team, won the Sawamura Award, was MVP of the Central League, helped Chunichi to the pennant, led the league in wins and his 176 Ks were second to Kei Igawa. The next year he was not as great, going 11-8 with a 3.74 ERA.

In May 2006, Kawakami was named pitcher of the month for the seventh time in his career. That tied Masahiro Yamamoto and Hideki Matsui for the most times being named the top player or pitcher in their league for a month



Here's some Youtube Video I found on KAWAKAMI,Kenshin

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z-a1lADub4M



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dH5ZEgSFE4U



This year stats He went 17-7 and with era of 2.51

http://japanball.com/stats.phtml

http://japanesebaseball.com/players/player.jsp?PlayerID=1026

Mike Plugh said...

Kawakami is a very good pitcher. He's got the swagger and the stuff to be a solid Major Leaguer.

I don't know if he'll be posted. If you ask me today, I'll say no chance in Hell. Chuinichi is the current reigning Central League champion and a regular first finisher in that circuit. Beginning next year they will follow the Pacific League's example and introduce an opening round playoff series. If Chuinichi hopes to continue their current run of success, it starts with Kawakami.

On the other hand, these teams see yen signs with their star pitchers. Seibu is set to make 3 times the payoll of their current roster on the Matsuzaka posting alone. Can a team really pass that up? Maybe. Japanese baseball fans are in a total panic right now about the future of their sport. Rightly so. Their favorite teams are selling off all the best players to the US, and soon they may truly be a minor league.

There are too many factors to predicting anything with the posting system, including whether it will even exist next year. I'll get back to you.

Bloomstomb said...

How These Posting Rules Are Unfair, to the Yankees?




If the media is right about sox highest bid then......


Yankees are in a no win situation. If they had posted a bid high enough, it would have been a major sox victory in making the Yankees pay more than double what they should have.

The Sox have absolutely no intention of signing this guy. They will throw a few dollars in boras face that the sox know will be unacceptable and the deal will fall through.

Selig did NOTHING to protect the teams that realy wanted matsasuka and gave every opportunity to scumbags like boston to manipulate and cheat to turn this posting process in to a farse.

And dont come in this thread and tell me how the postings gonna work unless you know what the ###### your talking about which excludes 80% of you.





Let me make this clear.. If the sox do not sign matsasuka, they get refunded 100% of that 40 million dollars.

Now do you understand why this is such a farse? A joke?

Another words, any team could bid 100000000000 dollars and then not sign matsasuka and be free of having to pay a dime.

The sox bid is ridiculous... but its just enough to MAYBE get under the radar of a very pro-sox selig (who incidentaly is responsible for this farse to begin with) and
while a 45 million 5 year deal looks good to many lamans, Boras knows that if he waits one more year, he can get 60 million for 5 years at least....
And dont you think the sox are fully aware of this?

If infact this is all true and the Sox do have the highest bid , then they are negotiating in 100% bad faith.

There is no way in ###### that the sox would EVER pay this kind of money to a unproven player.. They never have and they never will. For that matter , neither would the yankees.

So all these scumbags have to do is make a semi ridiculous winning bid, and then make an unaccaptable offer, and they have successfully blocked every team that was truly interested in matsasuka, and they have screwed the lions out of a good deal of money.



Says who. The rules are about as gray as you can make them.. Now if the rule said that if the top bidder cant sign him, it goes to the 2nd highest, then I would think thats fair.

But no.. These rules were put in place to derail any chance a team who may actualy want him from getting him.

Its not gonna happen like your scenario. But the sox are going to burn alot of bridges in japan and we will still get matsasuka next year who will be quite angry with the scumbags in the soxnation.

The team who gets screwed the most in this deal is the lions.




Believe me, Boras would hardly care what happened now if 2 years down the line the Sox made a better offer for one of his players he would take it. Its business.

Your right on the japan end thoe, but heres some food for thought.

Sox have never shown much interest in acquiring japanese talent, and maybe its something they believe they can live with, especialy seeing how Japanese are more often than not Yankee fans.

3rd point is the same as the first.

In the end, Its business for GM's. Theyre not gonna go out of their way to punish the sox if they believe a deal down the road makes sense for them

Steve said...

I COMPLETELY agree with you that this posting scheme is crap! I've been saying that for weeks. It's "closed' for one reason and one reason only, and that is to benefit the Lions. And "closed" lends itself to fraud. How do we know the Sawx didn't have behind the scenes negotiations with the Lions in recent weeks? We don't know. This entire posting system is flawed. I strongly suspect fraud already!

Ponder this: How do we know the Sawx didn't make a backdoor deal such as this: the Sawx bid a high number say $45M...The Lions promise to return say $15M to the Sawx in a backdoor deal, if the Sawx agree to give the Lions some piece of whatever proceeds the Sawx make from marketing in Japan with D-Mats a Sawx. I'm not saying such a deal was made, but believe me such a crooked deal COULD EASILY have been made, or some other such crooked deal.

I SUSPECT FRAUD

Robbie said...

First off, let me just say that the BoSox winning the Matsuzaka bid is simply scuttlebut, a rumor reported by an ESPN hack with little credibility. Buster has been horribly wrong before, and by simply spouting unsubstantiated claims he generates a "buzz" for ESPN and its website.

Secondly, the Seibu Lions have a reserve clause, they can reject the bid for ANY REASON. They are a professional sports franchise that has been in the business for many years. These are businessmen, not bumpkins, and will not stand for chicanery. I have not read anywhere that the bid is FULLY refundable, it may be that Seibu keeps a cut no matter what happens.

That being said, if the BoSox (or any other team) attempts such tomfoolery, such as low-balling D-Mat, it would bode very badly for their organization. They supposedly want to do this deal to "plant their flag" in the fertile Asian baseball fields. Teams such as the Yankees, the Dodgers, the Giants, and the Mariners have excellent working relationships with the Japanese leagues, who in turn have the heads up for developing baseball talent throughout Asia -- as in Korea, China, Taiwan, etc. If the BoSox were to "burn" the Seibu Lions management out of (for the sake of an argument) $40 million -- NO JAPANESE ORGANIZATION would EVER do business with them again. Society and business in Japan works differently than it does here in the states. Collusion is not a dirty word, but almost a standard business practice. Put it this way, a "gentleman's agreement" is something that is honored. Cross them and you get branded as a dishonorable element -- not just Theo Epstein, but the entire organization for years and years to come.

I am quite sure that the Seibu Lions have already considered the myriad of possibilities. For example, should the BoSox (or whomever the highest bidder may be) fail to sign D-Mat, the Lions are not under any obligation to re-sign Matsuzaka to a longer term contract. They could sign him for a year and simply "re-post" him again next year -- not even necessarily at the end of the season. The Lions could simply say that 2007 is a new year, and an MLB team could have D-Mat by spring training if the price is right.

Personally, I'd love it if the BoSox were "black-balled" throughout Asia, but I don't think that those Chowder-heads are really THAT stupid.

Robbie said...

http://jpbpa.net/convention/2001_e.pdf

"The ONLY safe guard to protecting the teams who actualy DO plan to sign him is that Selig may deem that the bidding was done in bad faith, and if you have half a brain, you will know that it will be near IMPOSSIBLE to prove".



If you read paragraph 13 you'll find that the commissioner doesn't have to "prove" anything. If it is HIS opinion that the "best interest of baseball" proviso has been violated he can cancel the wrong doers bid and move on to the next highest bidder,with the approval of the Japanese team.

It would also follow, although not clearly stated in this agreement that the "bad faith" bid team could receive substantial fines.

dean said...

PERFECT. Good job Bob!

In case anyone reading this needs to know, if there is any appearance of impropriety...like leaking a bid to gain unfair advantage, or to fraudulently enter into negotiations with a player in an attempt to block another team...or any such nonsense, there will be sanctions. All of the "inside information" ESPN and whoever is citing is a SACK OF S..IT. PERIOD.

Again, good job tracking that down Bob.

ldantoni84 said...

I agree with that. I mean, in the world of FAIR TRADE, you cannot get away with upping the "ante" to the point of a ridiculously large amount of money, only with the intention of never paying it out in the first place. That is illegal, actually.

So, the Red Sox, if that is their intent, (to not pay it, because they will low ball D-Mat not intending to sign him, but only to BLOCK him from the Yanks), should be fined their entire bid, and the negotiating rights should go to the next highest bidder. PERIOD.

What I want to know is why in the#$@$ was this not handled by an INDEPENDENT AUDIT FIRM so that the "fox" was kept out of the henhouse (Selig out of it), and the sealed bids opened and then that Audit firm be the ones to send the winning bid over to Japan? Our commissioner should have been notified by the auditors who placed the winning bid, not him be in the middle of it. It just smells dishonest, but the good news with that is that teams and Boras can file a grievance and potentially have the whole thing RE-DONE by an independent firm.

That's what I would do if I smelled any foul play or unfair trade practice.

Bloomstomb said...

Selig is not going to randomly decide to disqualify the high bidder without substantial proof. How will he decide then? On a whim? Because he doesnt like the team? Its obvious he will excercise this power if there is proof of wrong doing.

My whole point is its very EASY to hide the fact your bidding ONLY to block.

Its not like boston bid 1 billion in signing fee, so obvious that anyone could come to the solution that they are indeed working on bad faith.

If they bid 45 mil (or somewhere in that area) as the rumours tell us, its very defensible for them to say it was a honest bid.

As far as the offer they will make Matsasuka, from what I hear in the range of 45mil for 5 years (that right?) is also a decent offer, but ,as we all know, this is highly unlikely to be accepted by boras.

My problem is I am almost 100% sure the sox will not hamstring themselves for a good number of years just to gamble on a unproven. They have purposefully made the bid just plausible enough to believe, but certain enough that noone would be a higher bidder.

There is absolutely NO MENTION of fines if Selig does indeed find the sox to be operating in bad faith.

This entire process is filled with holes, gray areas and lots of thick smoke designed for one thing and one thing only.

To make the team that is truly interested in signing matsasuka bleed through the nose to get him, because as we can see through the rules stated in the posting process, there is not a single word about repremanding.

I have no idea why you would think otherwise.

Jin said...

apparently you guys havent gotten the memo. IF the Sox did do this with NO INTENTION of signing the guy, than Selig and MLB decide what to do and most of the time they give the rights to the next highest bidder and give them a chance to negotiate a contract, there are rules against just posting an insane amount of money just to block a team from winning the bid and the rights to him. so IF the Sox did do this with no intention of signing him, than the next team with the next highest bid providing this report is true will likely end up with a chance to negotiate with Boras for Matsuzaka. or who knows, maybe just maybe the Red Sox are trying to better their team

Jason said...

Interesting information from Japan


The Yankees reportedly have interest in Julio Zuleta, a 31-year free agent first baseman who played in Japan the last three seasons.

His agent, Gene Casaleggio, claims Zuleta has hit .273 with seven home runs against Daisuke Matsuzaka.

Not so, says an e-mail I received today. According to Gary Garland, who runs the Japanese Baseball Daily web site, Zuleta is 16 of 59 (.271) against Matsuzaka but has only two home runs, not seven.

It also seems that Zuleta is seeking a long-term deal in Japan, which U.S. players usually do not get. He could be trying to use the Yankees as leverage.

Garland says to keep an eye on Chunichi superstar right fielder Kosuke Fukudome, who will be a free agent after next season.

Hanshin right-handed reliever Kyuji Fujikawa is hoping to get posted after next season. He has a 96-mph fastball and a heck of as forkball.

Garland also believes that Kei Igawa will not wilt under the pressure of playing in New York. Igawa, he says, is a hardcore video game player and seems somewhat oblivious to what is going on around him. Hanshin, his team in Japan, has perhaps the most boisterous fans in Japan, so playing for the Yankees shouldn't be a big transition.


http://www.lohud.com/blogs/lohudyankees.html



Hey Mike Do you anything about these players such as Kosuke Fukudome and Hanshin right-handed reliever Kyuji Fujikawa ? thanks

Angel said...

Hey Mike, Do you have any on information on Nobuhiko Matsunaka? What numbers he have against matsuzaka?

I read about Zuleta in japanese papers, too: how can he be a Matsuzaka-killer w/ .260~270 w/a few HRs? The famous Daisuke killer is ChiSox's Iguchi. He owns Matsuzaka: hitting .400~.500, 6, 7HRs.

Kousuke Fukudome is probably the best OF in Japan now: he can hit for average and has got some pop; he also has a very good arm. He also hit that key HR in the semi final and clutch hits in WBC.

Kyuji is a good (not great) releiver: in WBC A-Rod hit a walk-off hit off Kyuji.

Giovanni said...

Angel
Hawks' Matsunaka also hits well against Daisuke. Last year he hit 3HRs off Daisuke in one game, and went 4 for 4. He had signed a long-term contract, and has no interest in playing in MLB, though.

Mike Plugh said...

Wow! So many questions guys. Thanks.

I'll do a post over at Baseball Japan in the near future highlighting some players you've been asking about.

The short of it here is that Matsunaka is capable of being a MLB All Star, but he's getting up in years and I doubt if he'll ever come to the US.

Fukudome is the best player in Japan that might actually make it to the States. He's worth every penny of whatever a team pays for him. His OPS is off the charts and he has as good an eye as there is in the sport over here.

Thanks again.

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http://www.boston.com/sports/baseball/redsox/articles/2006/12/02/lucchino_hits_on_three_hot_topics/

And now it loks like Gene Orza is geting involved.... Very Shady stuff going on

with the Sox and Yankees

"Post positions
After a $51.1 million bid by the Red Sox to negotiate with Matsuzaka, the Seibu Lions righthander, the posting process will likely be under scrutiny and changed in the weeks to come.


Commissioner Bud Selig said as much Thursday when he indicated: "I think we need to review the process."

Gene Orza, the chief operating officer of the Major League Players Association, said yesterday the posting process has "such potential for abuse and fraud. Why should the [Japanese] club receive $51.1 million and the player is only getting, if the numbers in the papers are to believed, $7 or $8 million? That's like saying the Cleveland Plain Dealer wants a Boston Globe writer and the Globe will let him go for $7 million, but $6 million of it goes to the Globe and the writer gets $1 million? What sense does that make?"

Orza said he has discussed the posting issue with Major League Baseball on numerous occasions and has always believed the process was severely flawed.

Asked whether the issue would revive itself and result in change, Orza agreed that given the high bids by the Red Sox and Yankees ($26 million for lefthanded starter Kei Igawa), it has shined a spotlight on the issue.

Even though the commissioner can step in and negate any deal made between the Japanese team and the major league team if everything is not by the book, Orza still feels there's room for something unsavory. He doesn't believe any of it benefits the player.

"There are no side deals in the situation," Jimmie Lee Solomon, MLB's executive vice president of baseball operations, said earlier this week. "Everybody's been assured that's not allowed, and everybody's been made aware of the rules."


KICKBACKS AND NEW REVENUE STREAMS

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http://firetorre.blogspot.com/


Stuff: Wright used to throw a lot harder, but right now he throws an 89-91 mph two seam fastball. He throws it from a very deceptive three-quarter angle. The fastball has a lot of movement to it and he uses it to get a significant amount of ground ball outs. He also throws a decent changeup, at about 78-80 mph. The changeup has a surprising amount of sink to it which is his go-to pitch. Wright has been trying everything he possibly can to find some sort of successful breaking pitch. He has tried throwing both a conventional 12-6 77-78 mph curveball and a much slower 70 mph loopy curve. Neither has worked with any success.


Watch out for Chase wright. I think He will either goes to starting rotation or replace villone in the bullpen

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