Wednesday, November 15, 2006


Of course, I'm shocked by the amount. The reports of $42 million seemed excessive, but they made sense, because it's entirely possible that a team like the Mets or Yankees could have bid in the high $30's (and apparently, the Mets did just that). But fifty-one million dollars? Isn't that a little much? If the Red Sox weren't already firmly entrenched as public enemy #1B - behind the Yankees' #1A - in the minds of the general baseball public, they sure are now.

Of course, blowing this much money on one player isn't this front office's usual MO, so there are other factors at work here. The only positive of posting Matsuzaka is that he can't possibly be property of the Yankees until the 2009 season. If the Red Sox don't sign him, he goes back to Seibu to finish out the last two years of his contract, and they get their money back. But what if they do sign him?

Yes, they make incredible inroads into the Japanese market, so they'll be able to bring the over-corporated world of Red Sox Nation membership cards and pink hats to the Far East (I'm sure the Seibu fans are drooling over the plethora of new ways to spend their yen). Yes, they can pitch NESN to the Japanese television market, and the ratings when Matsuzaka pitches against the Yankees or Mariners should be immense. Yes, they have the makings of a formidable 26-and under rotation with Matsuzaka, Beckett, Papelbon, and (hopefully) Lester.

However, if they do sign him, it'll cost upwards of $10 million a season, which is a lot for a somewhat unproven commodity. Personally, I think he's more worth it than Zito, and despite the miles on his arm I think he's safer, injury-wise, than Schmidt. But there's a degree of uncertainty here for an essentially untradeable player. If he tanks, it would set the team back a few years. If he excels, it could propel them back to the World Series within a year or two. With a team that just went through the season that they did, but that has the resources that they do, it honestly could go either way.

A lot depends on the rest of the off-season, obviously. But this is a big first step - assuming that they sign him - in more ways than one.

TripleSteal rating: Home run

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