Is Theo Bluffing?
I came across this article from The Sporting News, and was fascinated. Fact or the writer's mind at play? Read and decide for yourself. I'll be back with a comment .
"Theo Epstein chuckled when the "Yankees question" was raised at a press conference, then the Red Sox general manager quickly dismissed it.
So did Lou Melendez, Major League Baseball's vice president of international operations, who oversaw the posting process, and nearly everyone else involved with Japanese ace Daisuke Matsuzaka.
But you have to wonder about the real reason the Red Sox were willing to take their bid for Matsuzaka to a record $51.1 million. Considering they don't have to fork over a penny unless they sign the man known as D-Mat, the notion persists that Boston simply is blocking the Yankees from getting him.
Heck, the Red Sox don't even have to put the posting fee in escrow during the 30-day negotiating period, which would have cost them roughly $250,000 at 6 percent interest. Instead, the posting fee is due in one lump sum five days after Matsuzaka signs -- if he signs.
What's that, you say? The Red Sox would be breaking protocol in such a way that they could anger the Seibu Lions?
This, remember, is the same organization that broke protocol by claiming Kevin Millar off waivers before the 2003 season when he had an agreement to play in Japan.
So, is it crazy to think the Red Sox are bluffing?
"It's not a block," insists a general manager who closely monitored the process. "I don't know if they'll sign him, but I believe they'll make every effort to sign him."
Early estimates had Matsuzaka's agent, Scott Boras, seeking a five-year, $50 million commitment for his client. That would push Boston's total investment past $100 million, which would be a stunning development for a team that refused to guarantee Pedro Martinez more than $40 million after winning a World Series.
But the GM says, "It's not your typical negotiation. He can't go back or he'll lose face. You're talking about a guy who's only made $10 million in career earnings, whose highest salary in any one season was $2.5 million."
The GM suggests a five-year offer for between $5 million and $6 million per season could be enough to get a deal done.
"You're telling me he's going to turn that down?" the GM says. "What's he going to do? Threaten to go back to Japan for two years?""
© 2006 The Sporting News
Peter here. Would this article have been more at home had it been published on April Fools day? Maybe. 5 years at $6 or so million bucks sounds just fine to me. Knowing how Scott Boras(s) operates, it might take a bit more. OK by me! And the Red Sox would not try to pull off something like this because it would be like rubbing the fans' faces in deception...a kick to the groin area. I stand firm in the belief that DMat will be on the mound for the Boston Red Sox a couple days after opening day in KC. Now go enjoy your holiday, surrounded by your loved ones. And be happy. If you're happy, I'm happy.