Wednesday, December 13, 2006

On the Cheap

Well, it's finally over. Matsuzaka and the Red Sox have come to an agreement on a 6 year, $52 million deal that could reach $60 million with some bonus milestones. All in all, I think Theo Epstein got an absolute bargain, and should be celebrated by Red Sox Nation.

Including the posting fee, the Sox will be paying an annual expenditure of $17 million for Matsuzaka, which is beyond reasonable in the current climate of spending. In my opinion, it shows one thing. Boras had zero leverage in the end, and ran one of the great smoke and mirrors campaigns of all time in these proceedings. With Matsuzaka having said goodbye to Japan, and no free agency even possible for 2 years, he played the brash, greedy Gordon Gekko, but looks a bit more like Kenneth Lay in the end.

For Theo's part, he and Lucchino looked liked bumbling imbeciles at times, and I had to wonder how far over their heads they were in the negotiations. As this has now played out, I think they deserve a tickertape parade in Boston. They get a 26 year old pitcher, who by most estimation is one of the top 5 to 10 pitchers in the world. They lock him up at Meche money on the payroll to a long term deal, and outplay Boras in the process.

As a Yankees fan, I'm not looking forward to facing the Sox when Daisuke's on the mound these next 6 years. It hasn't been easy for me to watch this unfold, as I've devoted a year of my life to promoting this player to the American public only to see him land with my arch rival and a reasonable price. It's admittedly a tough pill to swallow, but as a fan of this player, I am delighted that he will have a chance to show the world what he can do. I wish him the best of luck, and look forward to attending a few games at Fenway with my Matsuzaka Seibu jersey on my back. (It sure as hell will be easier than the times I've been in attendance with a Matsui jersey and Yankees hat.)

What this means for the Igawa signing is that his contract should come in at about one-sixth of the posting bid of $26 million. That jives with Matsuzaka's money. It is exactly in the ballpark that the Yanks and Tellem are working on, so it's emblematic of this low key offseason that the Yankees may have won the bid for the lesser player, but also avoided entering a circus of any kind. Igawa prediction: 3 years, $13.5 million total.


Jason said...

I was hoping that Cashman sign Seibu Lions Catcher who caught Matsuzaka while playing in Japan and stick it to the Redsox.

I remembered The 2002 Season when "Lucifer" Luccihino who labeled the Yankees as "Evil Empire" who lost on Contreras. There was report back then that Redsox talk and sign Contreras former friend and know more on Contreras. I think that was reason Why Contreras was tipping his pitches that Redsox know what's coming his in hand

James said...

I heard that Redsox are offering Clement and Pena for Mike Gonzalez to be their closer next year. thoughts?

Cashman do something...

James said...

I heard that Redsox are offering Clement and Pena for Mike Gonzalez to be their closer next year. thoughts? Redsox will take half on Clement's salary in order to make this deal. I Hate to say this, but to keep Gonzalez away from the Sox and add a solid LH arm in the pen to deal with Ortiz, Drew and Varitek, I'd consider overpaying a bit if I was the Yanks. Plus, on paper one would think a LH closer such as Gonzalez would have an advantage over a LH heavy hitting lineup such as the Yanks. IMHO, 24 saves are 24 saves regardless of where you get them. I agree with someone who posted earlier that he could be as valuable as the Mike Stanton of the championship years.

Bronxbombera said...

Yankees–It's official: Red Sox have better rotation than we do

What is cashman planning to do about this?


as we all know pitching wins and with this rotation the Red Sox should win the east.

if anyone thinks adding 35 yr old, bad elbow andy pettitte and doing nothing else is gonna win this team a world series.. ya'll got another thing coming.

they thought adding damon last year and vritually doing nothing else would win a world series.. did it? NO... so why go down that road again? The team needs more changes!

the yankees need to sign barry zito, toby hall, trade melky and proctor for that pirates reliever... and trade sanchez for a first baseman like helton.

Elroy303 said...

Mike, on behalf of Yankee (and other baseball) fans everyone, a giant THANK YOU is in order for keeping us all in the loop for so long. While it didn't turn out the way Yankee fans would have liked, you have devoted an incredible amount of time and effort to this project and I wanted you to know how thankful we are.

Arigato gozaimasu!

PS: I would have posted this on your Matsuzaka blog, but it would have taken you forever to approve it.

Jan said...

Gonzalez is filthy. RHH have a .194BA vs and LHH have a .213BA vs.It would be like having BJ Ryan(albeit with less control) behind Mo. Bruney can take Proctor's spot or we can see what JB Cox has this ST. We also have Sanchez. No loss. Melky can be replaced by KT. Make it happen Cash.

P.S. Gonzalez throws from 93 -95mph and tops off at 95.

Other Options
If Melky is traded they would go either go after Damon Hollins or Carlos Gomez.

Also to replace Proctor- Reitsma will be another good option for the Yankees

Anonymous said...

I hope this doesn't mean Sox games will be given priority (broadcasts) over Yanks games on NHK!!

Mike Plugh said...

Thanks Elroy.

It kills me that Daisuke will be with the Red Sox. He's become my favorite player, and now I don't know what to do as a fan. I bought his Seibu jersey for a pretty penny, and I'm considering e-Baying it to some RSN nut. Probably keep it in the end. I'm still a huge fan, and hope he does well. Ugh.

I have my eyes set on the next Matsuzaka for the Yankees, but I'm going to wait a little longer before I let that cat out of the bag.


Mike Plugh said...


Sox games will be given priority over Yankees games only when Matsuzaka pitches. The Yankees have an everyday player of significant popularity (Matsui).

If you want to know the real danger, go to my blog Baseball Japan and give the latest article a read.

Jason said...

What did the Yankees learned this Offseason so far?

- Note to Cashman- When your rivals such Boston and Mets knows you are after Matsuzaka - These two teams will have to bid in maximum and competition to overpay for certain player like Dice-K.
I'm hoping that Yankees will never ever again bid only $30 million. I know it was sealed bid. Bid as much you can and what ever it takes.

Obviously Cashman didn't have the time to read Yankees hater Buster Olney daily blog that Olney speculates back then that Orioles Might bid $50 million just to block him from Yankees and Redsox getting him. Redsox Knew That Yankees wanted Matsuzaka , so they are willing to overbid for his rights.

Anonymous said...

imagine if Mats has a 'Beckett-esque' first year with the Sawx. I can hear the boos now.

he's now the enemy so i hope he tanks.

Anonymous said...

oops, i forgot to ask:

Mike, d'ya think Seibu 'contributed' to Mats' lowball deal?

Ismaiel said...

Yankees need to trade Carla Pavano and Trade A-fraud also. Also needs to sign Zito to compete with the "New Yankees of Fenway" - Unbeatable and Invicible Red$ox. Redsox Fans can't complain anymore about Yankees payroll while they're team spent so much this offseason.

Jenovah said...

New Pitching Coach

New Bullpen Coach

New and Improved Team

New Hitting Coach

Beckett was underachieved last year playing in first time in Al and gain experience


Al East Champions and World Series champs for 2007

How can Yankees compete with "Uber" team like Redsox?

Is this the End of Yankees Dynasty?

mars2001 said...

Mike -

I'm sorry that you're now in the position I believed I would be in... I thought the whole time that Dice-K would be a Yankee and was 'conflicted' to say the least of wanting to rooting for him whenever he pitched. With Boston acquiring him instead, things have become much easier for me [and in the same way more difficult for you].

Sorry that we've traded places, but I hope you'll keep close tabs on him nonetheless.

By the way... you have any qualms with calling Will Carroll a flip-flopper?

PS... I'll buy that jersey from you if you decide you don't want it.

Leon said...

Here's Cowlin herd making fun of Yankees- He says Yankees starting rotation are very old and Torre should be fired.

singledd said...

Its funny Mike... like you, I believed there was NO way DM would go back to Japan. It was unthinkable. And yet, believing that, it never occurred to me that you could low ball him.

It's like I thought someone, or as it turns out the Sox, would give him $14-15m because thats what's all the buzz said. But I knew he HAD to sign.

Maybe the Sox 2nd offer was just PR to save face? Would DM have gone back to Japan with 6/48 on the table?

It will be interesting in the future to see if GMS 'go for the throat' with posted Japanese players, until one (finally) says no.

Will the Yankees have the balls to offer Iggy 4/12?

yankz said...

Dang, you've got some posters here that would make awful GM's.

Anonymous said...


Don't know if I would agree that the effective cost for Matsuzaka is "beyond reasonable". Looking at it on a per year basis is somewhat misleading. The bottom line is this - the Red Sox have just commited $100m to a player that never set foot in the U.S. before for all intents and purposes. Sure, he could be great, but there is a chance it just does not happen for him here. Remember, Kaz Matsui and Jose Contreras who the very same scouts fell in love with only a few years before. Both have been disappointments. If Mat bombs, the Red Sox will be severly hurt b/c they will be paying $17m for a #4/#5 starter. It's a very risky move. - Ed Whitson

Al said...

I just finish watching Yankees hotstove on Yes, Ken Davidoff and Tom Verducci says the Yankees rotation are set. Verducci also says Yankees may trade Pavano. Ken Davidoff picks the Redsox rotation over the Yankees by 15 yards.

Anonymous said...


Here in Boston we heard Boras was asking for 15 million a year for Daisuke. The contract that was eventually signed was a huge surprise (8.65 million per yr). It is being hailed by everyone here as a major victory for Theo.

By the way, teams like the Yankees and Mets were willing to go 30 and 40 million on the posting fee. If you add in the contract he signed with Boston, it would still cost each NY team 80 and 90 million respectively. Obviously they thought it was worth the risk to get Daisuke. Most baseball experts agree that he is the best pitcher on the market and can succeed in the States.

Even if you count the posting fee, his average annual value is still reasonable considering the market. He is basicly making Zito money (17 million per yr).

Anonymous said...


The effective price is $17m per season. The fact that the $51.1 is not called salary, but a posting fee is irrelevant. The all-in is $103m or so.

The comparison to Zito is meaningless b/c Zito has proven that he can be an effective MLB over a number of seasons and has 1 Cy Young Award to his credit. Comparing that to someone who is Japan is irrelevant. Moreover, I know scouts like him, but they are often, very, very wrong. Contreras, Kaz Matsui, Hideki Irabu, Josh Beckett in the A.L. and so on and so forth.

If you think giving $100m to an unproven guy is a good idea, than I can't say anything to change your mind. If it does not work out, you will be precluded from making a lot of moves - i.e. You won't see Zambrano, Kazmir, Santana - so good luck with it.


Anonymous said...


Not sure how it was a major victory for Theo, but OK. What was Scott going to do, haul Matsuzaka back to Japan, have him wait 2 years, and turn a hero into public enemy #1 because he would screw the Lions out of $51m that sounded sorely needed. Scott really had no leverage, but that point was lost on the Red Sox who believed the hype. Good job giving a guy $8 or $9m per that had no other choice to sign with you. - Ed

Michael Pacson said...


There have been plenty of other successes that you fail to mention. Matsuzaka can be another Ichiro, Hideki Matsui, Sazaki, Otsuka, or Curt Schilling in the A.L.

I would have hoped that after seeing Hideki and Ichiro's careers here in the U.S. that you wouldn't be so pessemistic about Japanese superstars.

I suppose its just a difference in opinion. Here in Boston we've been hearing that Matsuzaka is much less of a risk than you think.

An interview with Orestes Destrade
(Japanese Baseball expert for ESPN) explains that Matsuzaka is more
likely to succeed because hes been preparing for the U.S. since he was 18. Hes been able to lower his walk totals every year in Japan and succeded in improving his command while maintaining his velocity. Destrade compared him to Ichiro because Ichiro did his homework before coming stateside.

He said that Kaz Matsui failed because he wasn't prepared for the MLB and came over because every other Japanese star was jumping ship. He also explains that unlike Matsuzaka, Irabu was not physically prepared to be in the MLB (Although that should be obvious to you).

I think comparing him to Zito is pertinent because they will cost about the same amount (If you add in the post). Zito won the Cy Young when he still had a plus fastball. Right now his velocity is declining (87 mph fastball?) and he still expects to be paid as a Cy Young candidate. Also his preformances against the Yankees were very poor.

I'd rather pay 100 million to a guy I'm pretty sure would be very good than to a guy I know to be declining and has a history of tanking against my arch rival.

I wouldn't be too concerned about our ability to obtain any pitchers financially. Schilling has already announced his retirement for next year giving us enough room to sign whatever pitcher you can list. Also, Theo hasn't ruled out signing Roger this year for 25+ million and moving Wakefield to the bullpen. So as you can see, the Red Sox are very much able to stomach his '100 million dollar contract' (52 million actually actually counting against the cap), but thanks for your concern though.

Anonymous said...


As a Red Sox fan, you should very much be concerned about your team's willingness to spend money. 2006/2007 seems to be an exception after the Red Sox spent $130m in 2005 and finished 3rd in the A.L. East. So apparently, the purse strings have been loosened. But let's think about this, this teams passed on A-Rod b/c of $13m, underbid Damon, the heart and soul of their first WS champtionship caliber team since 1918 by $12m, and would not take Abreau and his contract for 1 1/2 years in 2006, which may have cost them a playoff spot. The Drew signing was a bad one and Matsuzaka will either be a very good one or a very bad. If it is very bad, given your team's history and willingnes or lack thereof in the past to spend money, I hypothesize, that Lucchio, and company will quickly close the purse strings and adopt a lower cost model. Of course time will tell...Ed

Anonymous said...


Destrade's comments about Irabu and Matsui are poor ones. At the time, scouts loved Irabu, Matsui, and Jose Contreras, who although not terrible underperformed. The scouts were dead wrong. The way Destrade paints the picture though, it was obvious that Irabu and Matsui would fail. Weird, b/c it was not obvious to the scouts at the time. With all due respect to Destrade, I will defer to the scouts rather than a guy that never made it in and is not acting as everything was self-evident. If that were true, you would think MLB teams would hire Destrade. SInce he never made it in the U.S., I'm sure he would relish that opportunity.

Michael Pacson said...


Why should I be worried about the Sox spending money? They spent a ton of cash in 2004 and that won them a world series (Schilling and Foulke). Even though this management fielded a 3rd place team last year, overall I still think their management so far has been pretty good. They have rebuilt a depleted farm system and won a world series during their tenure. This is still the same management that took Ortiz off the scrap heap and signed him to a cheap long term contract. (By the way, no offence to Damon, but this guy is the real heart and soul of the organization).

About your A-Rod comment, I think that was a blessing (We would rather NY keep him by the way).

Even with the Abreu deal, our chances of reaching the playoffs last year would have been slim at best. The injuries in the pitching staff and line up make the prospects of the playoffs unlikely even with Abreu. If we somehow were able to get into the playoffs, our weakened staff would've guaranteed us a simlar fate to your Yankees.

The Drew signing will only be bad if his health doesn't hold up. Theo pointed out that his health during the last 3 years has been good. He attributed the time lost in 2005 to a freak injury (Kinda like what happend to Matsui). If he plays, he produces.

This management has spent in excess of 100+ mil dollars every year since they arrived. After this past year when they spent 100+ million and did not make the playoffs, they spent 100 mil to improve their starting rotation, 36 mil for a new lead off hitter, and 70 mil for a 5th hitter. I predict that if they dont win the world series again this year, they will keep spending to field a team that does.

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