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High noon has arrived

Posted by Gordon Edes, Globe Staff  December 12, 2006 02:23 AM

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So now, it comes down to this ... if Daisuke Matsuzaka is on John Henry's plane tomorrow, the Sox have a deal. If he isn't, it's over, and he's going back to Japan.

Sox sources say that the offer Theo Epstein and Larry Lucchino intend to present agent Scott Boras is a boatload of money. I won't hazard a guess at this stage, though Theo, when asked about a quote attributed to Boras in which he said something about the market for pitchers headed toward the $100 million range, may have shed some light on it when he said the total outlay of cash for Dice-K will be in that neighborhood. Theo said it will the most money paid a Japanese player coming to the major leagues in his initial contract. Hideki Matsui was paid $21 million in a three-year deal when he came over in 2003; Ichiro, who arrived two years earlier, was paid $14 million over three years. The Sox offer is expected to trump those figures by a considerable margin, but will far short of the kind of parameters Boras has suggested to the Sox in conversations.

While Boras has rarely invoked an actual monetary figure in discussions, he has tossed out the figures of $120 million or $140 million for x number of years, according to a source with direct knowledge of the negotiations, which the Red Sox took to mean that Boras considered Matsuzaka a $20m a year player.

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