Even on North Carolina’s Outer Banks we got the word that the Red Sox seem to have posted the top bid for Daisuke Matsuzaka…and said bid is somewhere between $38 and $45 million dollars. (At least according to Buster Olney; the Globe‘s Nick Cafardo says there’s a growing consensus that Olney’s right.)
Let’s take this with an appropriate grain of salt. Many times over the past several years, Manny Ramirez has been all but traded…”according to [nameless] Major League Baseball sources,” who are cited in the Olney piece. (Cafardo also cites MLB sources as saying, essentially, “Yeah, that wouldn’t surprise me.”) According to Major League Sources, Boston was going to suit up Alex Rodriguez at short and Magglio Ordonez in left. And according to MLB sources, John Kerry won the 2004 election.
Winning the right to negotiate with Matsuzaka doesn’t mean he’ll be starting ahead of Curt and Beckett next year; all it means is that the Sox are the sole team with the right to negotiate with Boras (DM’s agent). And Boras has shown he has absolutely no problem keeping his players out of the majors for a year if it means they/he will get more money (see: Varitek, Jason). Forty mil is a lot. It’s conceivable the Sox wanted to make sure the Yankees didn’t get him, bid an outrageous amount of money but don’t think they can sign him for something reasonable. It’s also conceivable that the Sox will trade the right to negotiate with Matsuzaka to another team, pay a chunk of that $40 mil, and ask for a young, proven player who hasn’t yet hit free agency. (In some very weird way, this fits in well with the Sox’s roster development philosophy, but it might be too clever be half, just as it might be against the weird and wooly rules governing this whole “posting” phenomenon. But it also might be the kind of Red-drafting-Larry-when-he’s-a-junior type of thing that the Sox would actually put in play.)
If the Red Sox have put in the winning bid, and if they do end up signing him, I’m sure as shit be excited. I’d also be worried, for reasons I’ve previously explained. In either case, it’s an early sign that the ’06 Hot Stove season will be plenty active in Boston. But isn’t it always?