Monday, December 11, 2006

Oh, don't you worry (edited)

I'm pretty sure Matsuzaka is signing, as is this guy. Right now, Boras is just playing chicken, thinking that the Red Sox are in for a penny then they are in for a pound. There is no other team offering him a contract, no other dark horse deal lurking in the shadows to snatch him away from the Sox. The only way to squeeze the Sox is to make them think he wouldn't sign. So, he takes the comprehensive deal sent by the Sox and tables it for three weeks. He makes time the enemy, pushing the posture right up to the deadline to see how much squirming and movement he can elicit out of the Red Sox before they move to double their offer. That is what he is doing, and the Sox know it, and they will get a deal done. And if they don't, I am going to break my other ankle.

Here's the thing, though: everybody involved wants this deal to get done. Everybody.

Obviously, Siebu wants the deal because it would springboard them into the position as the wealthiest team in Japan for at least the short term.

The Sox want the deal because it would be somewhat embarrassing to bid and fail, but more importantly they need him.

Matsuzaka wants to play in the league. He has dreamed of it since he was a kid, the offer on the table has him tripling his salary, and he comes from a culture of pride and honor that would probably view his "greed" in a much more negative light than the US (or at least that is what all these stories that writers have written has led me to believe). Even if he views the posting system as a load of crap, he probably doesn't want to be the one that takes it down at his own expense.

Boras needs him to sign because, even if his goal is to wreck the posting system, it would ultimately be counterproductive for him. Even if he does get the posting system broken (which is no sure thing, even if Matsuzaka doesn't sign), he still will likely get a bad reputation with other Japanese players moving forward. Further, there is no gaurantee that Matsuzaka won't fire him during the year before next year's posting period or two years from now when he is a free agent.

So, personally, I think the "it's dead" stories are the Sox sending some underground smoke signals to Matsuzaka and Japan in general as a way to turn around some of that heat they are feeling and putting it on Boras. I think the Sox, having invested nothing but a theoretical bid, are trying to make Boras twist in the wind the same way he was trying to bluff them into upping their ante. It will happen.

It has to happen.


Then again, this could be really good or really bad news.


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