boston.com Sports Sportsin partnership with NESN your connection to The Boston Globe

Gordon Edes Red Sox chat transcript

Thursday Nov. 16, 2006
Gordon_EdesHey everyone, a few things to talk about, no?
Mark_SThe Red Sox are paying a lot just to talk to Daisuke Matsuzaka, and if signed will cost them around $100 million for a pitcher who's never played an inning in American professional baseball. The top two free agents, Zito and Schmidt would probably cost less. granted they come with risk also, Zito's record against the Yankees and in Fenway, and Schmidt crossing leagues. But it seems to me that knowing that, they would be less risky ... yet all the columnists and analysts seem to love this move, what am I missing ?
Gordon_EdesYou're missing a new frontier....I think the success of Ichiro and Matsui, and the testimony of Bobby Valentine, who manages in Japan, has convinced MLB executives that the elite talent in Japan translates well to baseball here, and that at 26, Matsuzaka was the best pitcher available on the free agent market this winter
pavlidoAny insight as to how and why the Red Sox came up with the $51,111,111.11 figure to bid? We're told that the offer to Clemens last year was pro-rated $21,000,021 (or something like that), which makes sense. But is there any significance to the $51,111,111.11 figure?
Gordon_EdesPavlido, I wondered that myself when I saw it...The number of yen was a nice round number--6 billion--so maybe it coincidentally converted to what looks like a number with Clemens-like meaning.
NateI think that it is pretty obvious that the Sox are going to do everything they can to sign D-Mat...It is obvious by the amount they were willing to give up to negotiate with him ($51.1 million). Now the question is, having Scott Boras know that, how much do you think that he is going to "soak" the Sox for?
Gordon_EdesNate, the fact that the Sox were willing to pay $51m just to talk to Dice-K would seem to give Boras quite the hammer in insisting that the Sox be willing to pay him top dollar, more than $10m plus. But the reality is, he still is a first-year player who will be arbitration-eligible in three years. I expect the Sox will give Dice-K a big signing bonus, but try to keep the salary number down...But when the Kevin Millwoods of the world are pulling down $11m a year, does Oswalt money ($14m per) seem unreasonable?
Rising_SonBecause Matsuzaka could break down early (due to how much he already has thrown), could it be smarter for the Red Sox to go for (or "settle" for) the shorter-term contract that Scott Boras supposedly wants? The Red Sox still could re-sign Matsuzaka as a free agent in 3 or 4 years.
Gordon_EdesRising Son, first to clarify something: Dice-K is eligible for free agency in SIX years, just like any other first-year player, unless Boras is able to negotiate a clause granting him FA, which I suspect the Sox, given their enormous investment already, will be reluctant to do. This could be a real sticking point in talks. Hideki Matsui had such a clause; Ichiro did not, but re-signed with the Mariners before he became arbitration eligible.
DrewHey, Gordo. thanks for taking the time to chat with us! Boston is a tough town to get used to for many players, foreign and otherwise, should one underperform expectations. What are the chances you think we might be looking at a Jose Contreras in NYC situation with DM here?
Gordon_EdesDrew, that's a very reasonable question to put on the table. There's no question Contreras wilted in NY, though it's my opinion that had as much to do with his separation from his family, which he'd left behind in Cuba, than with the glaring spotlight that comes with being a Bomber. The Sox surely looked long and hard at his makeup before committing themselves to such a vast outlay. Hideo Nomo, for one, handled the transition nicely in L.A; Irabu was a bust. But it's a good question.
poAren't we concerned that pitchers historically have trouble adjusting to the AL coming from the NL and Asia?
Gordon_EdesThat's pretty good, po... and again, your humor actually underscores a good point. Who had any concerns that Beckett would have any adjustment issues, and yet it's obvious he did.
youppiIt's estimated the Sox could end up spending nearly 100 million dollars on Matsuzaka. If they do, to what extent, if any, would this limit their financial ability to address other needs?
Gordon_EdesThat's a question I've posed, and while the Sox aren't wild about what JD Drew is asking for ($14m X 4) or Julio Lugo (a reported $8m X 4), I believe that they would make either or both of those moves if they placed that kind of value on the players. And did you notice how the Sox cleverly slipped in the announcement that they'd broken the $100 threshold for box seats during all the excitement over Matsuzaka?
mannybeingmannyWith the Sox payroll already around $100 million and the cost of Matsuzaka as much as $16 million per year, do you think its reasonable to assume they can sign only one major free agent (either Lugo or Drew) if they don't make any trades?
Gordon_EdesMBM, you and youppi raise the same issue. And as my colleague Dan Shaughnessy reminded us this a.m., this is the same team that said they abandoned their pursuit of Abreu because with the luxury tax hit included, he was going to cost the Sox $27m a year, and they couldn't afford that. But now, it appears, the rules have changed. MLB is making oodles of money, so are the Red Sox, and the luxury tax threshold has gone up to $148m. I think the Sox could still sign a couple of players w-o a major trade, like dealing Manny, though I know they are casting about to gauge the interest.
ramblerfrombamaIf the Sox acquire D-Zaka and another starter, is it possible they change their minds and return Papelbon to the closer role?
Gordon_EdesIf they do, rambler, that would mean they were not being candid when they said they were making the switch primarily for health reasons. I happen to believe that was indeed the reason; both Theo and Tito would have loved to have kept Paps as closer.
noneHas there been a significant shift in Red Sox policy regarding player contracts? The pursuit of JD Drew does not make much sense 12 months after a decision not to match the offer Damon received from the Yankees. The bidding on Matsuzaka suggests there are no budget constraints....
Gordon_EdesNone (or is that No-NEY?), the outlay for Dice-K would certainly suggest there has been a shift. I suspect Theo will insist that the Sox are being consistent, and that their willingness to crush the field with their bid is simply indicative of the value they place on the pitcher, whom they clearly feel will have a Nomo-like impact. And for those who remember Nomo's spectacular debut, that's an exciting proposition.
nod-matnicknameGordo, love your work with the Globe. I just wanted to get your take on whether or not you think Daisuke Matsuzaka is truly capable of ace status. I have a feeling he'll slide nicely into the #2 or #3 hole. But that may not be enough. With Schilling another year older we can probably only expect 13-15 wins. Beckett? Who knows. Wake is always in the 11-14 win category when healthy. And as high as the nation has been on Paplebon he's still an unknown commodity as a starter (especially since he really only throws 2 pitches effectively). So my question is this....do you think Matsuzaka is worthy of #1 status and is enough of a bolster to get our rotation into the 70-75 wins range (which dominant teams usually average)? Thanks, Gordo.
Gordon_EdesNod-Mat (are you honing in on D-Mat's turf?), the Sox could not possibly commit this kind of money without believing Dice-K is an ace (see: Hideo Nomo 1995). That said, while Nomo, after stringing together a few no-decisions, was dominant almost from the get-go, you have to make some allowance for a transition period for Dice-K. But having him around will certainly ease some of the burden on Papelbon, who can now convert to being a starter surrounded by four quality pitchers.
Dewey24Hi Gord! Thanks for taking the time to do this chat. Buster Olney posted a piece on ESPN.com this a.m. asserting that 2 years of Manny at $20 mil a year is starting to look very enticing to several teams in this market. Given that the Mets have been very interested in the past, is there any way Theo could pry Reyes from them - or alternately, a deal involving Michael Young in Texas (who is in his walk year)? Either would give back a solid bat and defender and save us from the mistake that will be Juilo Lugo. Thanks!
Gordon_EdesDewey, I just took a peek at what Buster wrote, and it mirrors what I've been saying for some time, in two respects: One, the remaining $40m on Manny's deal is not a deal-breaker, not in today's market, and two, Omar Minaya, the GM of the Mets, has long been fascinated with Manny and is in the market for a corner outfielder. Gillick's remarks about the Phillies not wanting to take on a headache in Manny reflects the reluctance some teams will have about the guy, but as Manny's defenders never tire of saying--with justification--look at the numbers. I do think that the teams that miss out on Soriano will take a look at Manny as an alternative.
DanHey Gordon. I'm hoping you could give a little insight, and clear up the myths, of the already infamous "Gyroball" that Matsuzaka is said to throw by some. I've read the pitch doesn't exist, and that it has only been simulated by scientists, but from vidoes i've seen, the pitch looks like it is something more than just a sinking slider...so what is the deal with this pitch?
Gordon_EdesDan, I've come down on the side that the gyroball is urban legend, although Will Carroll, the respected medical expert at Baseball Prospectus, has challenged me to come to the winter meetings with a pitcher and he'll teach him how to throw the pitch. So far, no one has ever used the pitch in a game, and it has been featured only in computer simulations and Japanese comics (anime). Matsuzaka has a broad repertoire of pitches, and has great movement, but none with the supposed bullet-like spin of the Gyro.
MattDo you think the Sox will still make a run at Roger Clemens now that they've paid so much money for Matsuzaka?
Gordon_EdesI was discussing that with my colleague Nick Cafardo. It was his contention, and I tend to agree, that if Roger Clemens signals to the Sox that he wants to finish his career in Boston, they would find the money to make it happen.
RethinkingtheoSo why does Theo suddenly think that every topic is akin to national security with dealing with the press. Are you getting annoyed? Don't fans who pay $400 to take a family of four to the ball game deserve real answers?
Gordon_EdesR-T, I think this is a product of the harsh coverage Theo received during the breakdown of his own contract negotiations, and his conviction that the media had a major negative impact on those negotiations. He may already have believed that in the aftermath of the Contreras and A-Rod negotiations, but the feeling was reinforced during the Halloween Hustle. Do I wish he was more forthcoming? Of course. Do I understand his point of view? To a degree, yes. I think there is a chance of a softening of his position, depending on the degree of trust that is recovered, but I think there will be continued wariness for some time to come.
samantha67Boston Dirt Dogs mentioned that the Red Sox are now the evil empire, I fail to see how this huge bid proves anything other than that. He (Matsuzaka) is unproven in MLB and Theo/Larry are looking to make themselves look better in the eyes of the fans after the debacle that was 2006. What are your thoughts?
Gordon_EdesThe Doggie likes to have his fun, though I suspect there are some mid-market and small-market owners who threw their hands up when they heard the size of the Sox bid. I do think BDD takes a valid shot in noting that the Sox can no longer separate themselves from the Yankees and declare they can't compete financially with Les Bombers. There may still be a sizable gap in team payrolls, but any team that can spend $50m just to talk to a player can no longer hide behind its accountants.
fanWhat are you hearing on JD Drew and where do you think Nixon will end up?
Gordon_EdesFan, what I have heard is what Nick wrote today, that the Cubs have a very strong interest in Drew, and that he is asking for $14m x 4, which is more than the Sox were willing to give to Johnny Damon, whose desire has never been questioned the way Drew's has. I'm not in Naples, but I haven't heard word one about Nixon, who represents a very affordable alternative for those teams looking for a corner OF. His drop in power has really hurt his value, though.
188Do you think the Sox will have successful negotiations with Boras on Matsazuka
Gordon_EdesIn the end, yes. Matsuzaka means too much to the Sox on a number of levels for this venture to end in failure.
remdoggieWith Seibu standing to make $51 mil on Daisuke, is there any chance that they would kick some of that back to him and Boras if the Sox come to a standstill on negotiations?
Gordon_EdesRemdoggie, personally I think the whole posting system is ripe for chicanery, which means a scenario like you're positing is hardly out of the question. Seibu, from what I understand, is in some real financial difficulty. They can't afford to leave this money on the table--someone wrote that it's three times what their entire payroll cost them in '06. So could there be some backdoor wheeling and dealing? Absolutely, the kind we may learn about years from now.
MainerDo you think the 51 million dollars paid to negotiate is within reason for opening the Red Sox market to Japan?
Gordon_EdesNo, I don't, Mainer, which is why we should all be clear on why the Sox are doing this: This is about the pitcher, and the value they place on him. All the ancillary benefits are just that, and should not be dismissed, but the Sox aren't doing this primarily to sell a few more Sox caps or some signage on the Monster. Although I do wonder how "That 70s Show" will translate into Japanese.
MicTigAny thoughts as to why the Japanese position players have fared better than pitchers?
Gordon_EdesMcT, That's a good question, although not every position player to come over has been a smashing success (See: Kaz Matsui). You factor in relievers like Kaz Sasaki and Shiggy Hasegawa, along with Nomo, and it's clear there's clearly the potential for pitchers to succeed here as well. One thing that plays into it, I think, MicTig, is that in Japan complete free agency is not available for players until after nine seasons, by which time many pitchers are on the downside of their careers, especially given all the throwing they do. Not all of the best players are posted, or even want to be posted.
mikeThere has been a lot of talk about Matsuzaka but what will the Red Sox do about there closer situation? Any chance we will sign Brad Lidge?
Gordon_EdesMike, I know the Sox have a great deal of interest in Lidge, but Houston GM Tim Purpura was pretty emphatic in his statements this week that he's not available. Posturing? Perhaps.
smittyWill Daisuke go by his first name like Ichiro or last name like Matsui?
Gordon_EdesSmitty, I'm guessing we're going to see Dice-K or D-Mat before we see Daisuke catching on.
Ben_2now that the precedent has been set, where does Theo go from here? $51.1 million shows all of MLB what the Sox are willing to do this year... How can the front office possibly have a leg to stand on with nickel-and-diming negotiations with other players?
Gordon_EdesB2, what do you suppose Beckett is thinking right about now? His 3-year, $30m deal will look like cab fare in this market, which is why it was a great stroke by Theo to sign him when he did.
Sponsored Links