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Matsuzaka mania

Posted by Nick Cafardo, Globe Staff  November 10, 2006 02:53 PM

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There's growing steam behind a report by ESPN's Buster Olney that the Red Sox might have submitted the top bid for Seibu Lions righthander Daisuke Matsuzaka.

One major league source indicated, "That wouldn't surprise me one bit. I have heard the Red Sox were very competitive. It would be a strike against the Yankees, who have been considered the front-runner, and it show Red Sox fans the team is serious about rebuilding what happened last season."

Olney wrote the Sox might have bid as high as into the $40 millions for the right to negotiate with the coveted righthander. If that should happen, the Sox would have three starters -- Jonathan Papelbon, Josh Beckett and Matsuzaka -- all within that prime 26 years old range and the hope that lefty Jon Lester can eventually rejoin the staff.

The Sox would have to negotiate with agent Scott Boras, who would either have to settle for what the Red Sox were willing to offer, or Matsuzaka would have to return to the Lions.

Major League baseball spokesman Patrick Courtney said as soon as MLB is made aware of which team has been awarded the bid, they will make it public, no matter what the time.

There was a report earlier in the day out of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram that the Texas Rangers might have made the top bid.

This is an emerging story. We'll keep you posted.

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