Posted: Tuesday November 14, 2006 12:25AM; Updated: Tuesday November 14, 2006 10:54AM
From Moneyball to gyroball
If the Red Sox end up signing Daisuke Matsuzaka, their final cost could hit $100 million or more.
Koichi Kamoshida/Getty Images
While there's been no announcement yet, people involved in the bidding situation confirmed Monday afternoon to SI.com that Boston was the high bidder for Matsuzaka, and Seibu is expected to announce at 8 p.m. ET that it's accepted the monster bid.
For all that loot, the Red Sox have won sole negotiating rights for the superb Seibu star, who's said by some to be the lone thrower of the gyroball pitch, a juiced-up slider that was conceived in a laboratory.
There's still some debate over the amount of the winning bid. One source insisted that the original report of $38-45 million as Boston's winning bid is "not accurate." While it seemed farfetched that the bid could actually be higher than $45 million, several people here believe that it was. One rumor going around the lobby was $51 million. If it's $45 million or more, that's more than the 2006 payrolls of four teams: Florida, Tampa Bay, Colorado and Pittsburgh
Any amount in that stratosphere for only the right to negotiate shows just how valuable a No. 1 starter is. But it may also reflect how much Boston believes Matsuzaka will boost marketing revenues. He is probably worth more to Boston and the two New York teams since they have their own TV stations. But going in, no one thought he'd be worth quite this much.
The final tally could get to the $100 million mark or more, since Boston still has to sign Matsuzaka to a contract. If the Sox fail to do so, they keep their money and Matsuzaka returns to Seibu -- though few expect that to happen.
The Red Sox certainly aren't messing around. As SI.com reported Monday, they are about to make an offer to free-agent outfielder J.D. Drew that is expected to be for at least $44 million over four years, and perhaps more. Boston obviously is trying to ensure that it doesn't have two straight years of missing the playoffs.
Around the Majors
Phillies GM Pat Gillick doesn't like to give no-trade clauses and so far has managed to avoid doing so, which is quite an accomplishment in this era. However, Alfonso Soriano insisted on a no-trade clause in talks with the Nationals, so that could be a sticking point. It's funny that the Phillies want to go from Bobby Abreu, whose plate discipline is second to none, to Soriano, who obviously has different strengths.
The Cubs have said they'll pursue free-agent center fielder Gary MatthewsJr., who had a career year in 2006. But you'd have to wonder whether firing his father will hurt their chances.
The Cubs are also after Lugo, another of Boston's potential targets as well.
Aramis Ramirez actually received $75 million over five years, not $73 million, but agent Adam Katz thinks he could have gotten a little more had he shopped him around. However, Ramirez wanted to stay in Chicago. Anyway, it's not too bad; he set a record for increasing his contract after opting out. He increased $53 million from the $22 million he had been guaranteed.
Another (coming) sign of the times: Dave Roberts is seeking $15 million over three years, and he may well get it.
Congrats to Yankees executive and baseball lifer Ray Negron, whose wonderful, inspirational children's book The Boy of Steel, is high on bestsellers lists. Most of the proceeds for the book are going to breast cancer research and other charities.
Terry Ryan of the Twins won the GMs' vote for Executive of the Year, which is really a lifetime achievement award in his case. It's amazing how he continues to form excellent teams on a shoestring budget.