NAPLES, Fla. — The assembled Japanese media here at the annual general managers’ meetings have been told this morning that the Seibu Lions’ board of directors will meet tonight (Tuesday morning in Japan) to mull over the top bid submitted a major league team to earn the negotiating rights to coveted righthander Daisuke Matsuzaka.
There are still conflicting reports as to when any kind of announcement was going to be made. Major league baseball is saying it’s going to be on Tuesday, while Japanese reporters are saying it’s going to be tonight.
Matsuzaka’s agent, Scott Boras, was also due here sometime today, but Sox general manager Theo Epstein, who arrived last night, said he did not have a meeting planned with Boras, who also represents a number of free agents, including Barry Zito, J.D. Drew and others.
Epstein will be joined by Ben Cherington and Jed Hoyer as well as newly appointed assistant to the general manager Allard Baird. Other general managers and their staffs from around baseball trickled in Sunday night and this morning and will take part in a bowling tournament today and a dinner tonight.
In between, Epstein was about to buckle in for what could be an extremely busy and fruitful few days, particularly if Boston has made the highest bid on Matsuzaka. He would not make any comments on Matsuzaka.
Courtney clarified the rule pertaining to the negotiating rights for Matsuzaka or any posted Japanese player. Courtney was told by major league baseball operations officials that Matsuzaka’s rights could not be traded. There is a possibility of a sign and trade scenario, but the Sox must sign Matsuzaka if their bid is accepted and have 30 days to negotiate with Boras. If the sides can’t reach agreement, Matsuzaka returns to the Lions.
(Editor’s note: As soon as we know the results of the bidding for Matsuzaka, we’ll post it here in the Extra Bases blog.)