This morning in the Middle East, er, the Matsuzaka negotiations (And: Is Scott Boras pulling a Fonzie?)

December 12th, 2006 → 10:48 am @ // 15 Comments

It was an interesting night. There are plenty of news articles, plenty of columns, and plenty of commentary. Think of this as one-stop shopping. (I do love one-stop shopping.)

* Scott Boras is insisting that he did not say that Matsuzaka should receive $100 million; he merely said that’s what pitchers in today’s market are receiving. (Pretty much everyone who saw the press conference thought he said that’s what Matsuzaka should get.) Boras also stressed that Bill Clinton did not have sex with that woman.

* After the Red Sox made their initial offer, Boras has not made a single counteroffer. Or, apparently, even spoken to the Sox. He has, of course, been speaking to the rest of the country, and will hold a series of town meetings later this week.

* John Henry provided his plane to whisk Theo and Larry out to California for a face-to-face with Boras, adding another $10,000 or so to the price of the negotiations. In the baseball world, this is also known as “a candy bar.”

* Henry is pissed. Gordon Edes details a late-night conference call Henry had with reporters: “‘We’re on Scott Boras’s doorstep because he hasn’t negotiated with us so far,’ Henry said, frustration registering in his voice during a post-midnight conference call with reporters. ‘We’re taking the fight directly to him to try to have a negotiation here.'” Later, Henry told Edes in a private call, “You make your best offer and just hope the player receives it.” And yes, Henry meant what you thought he meant there.

* Nevertheless, the Sox will make another offer “of considerable magnitude” today, according to Theo. “It’s highly unusual,” Epstein said, referring to the fact that the Sox were essentially bidding against themselves, “but it’s showing that Matsuzaka is extremely important to the Boston Red Sox. It’s normally not a good ploy, but we want to demonstrate to Matsuzaka, and the fans of Japanese baseball, just how important he is to us.”

* Boras finally seems to have stepped over the line, with the Boston media, the national media, and his great-aunt all turning against him. Matsuzaka can’t pitch for anyone else in MLB this year; he’ll make $3 or $4 million a year if he stays in Japan; both the Yankees and the Mets apparently agreed that Daisuke was worth somewhere in the $8 to $10 million range (which, as people are now increasingly pointing out, is a lot of money for someone who’s never thrown a major league pitch). The result is a drastic swing of public opinion, with more and more folks now siding with the Sox.

I’m about 94 percent sure this won’t happen, but it seems to me there’s an outside possibility (very outside, granted) that Boras will end up screwing himself not only in what will likely be a very lucrative Japanese market but could also hurt himself with MLB teams. (There is, after all, some precedence for collusion among the owners vis a vis salaries.) Obviously, we’re living in a whole different world today, but at some point you’d figure owners might get sick of negotiating with Boras, who’s establishied an impressive track record of obstinancy and lying and looks more and more like he’s preparing to waterski right over that great white. (Like I said, there’s a very small chance of this happening…but hey, I got to U-Tube Henry Winkler.)


Post Categories: 2006 Playoffs & Arthur Fonzarelli & Daisuke Matsuzaka & Red Sox front office & Scott Boras

15 Comments → “This morning in the Middle East, er, the Matsuzaka negotiations (And: Is Scott Boras pulling a Fonzie?)”


  1. redsoxtimes

    11 years ago

    Sending the boys out on the plane to go on a Boras hunt was a very important stance for the Red Sox in this negotiation. By making it known that they are making an effort to the nth magnitude to get this deal done (but still within the dollar range that they expect) they place the lack of good faith notion squarely at the feet of Scott Boras.

    To solidify their position as having put the best foot forward without compromising the value that they place on Matsuzaka Theo’s offer must be north of $10 mm/year.

    How odd must it be for the two parties negotiating to have had productive negotiations on J.D. Drew and then be so diametrically opposed only a week later. One also has to wonder if Theo and Boras are even talking about Gagne, or if they did?

    When Theo calls Scott’s office, does the answering service pick up; “Press 1 to negotiate for Eric Gagne, Press 2 for Daisuke Matsuzaka”. If you press one you are sent through to a live person, if you press two you are sent to the machine?

    Tim

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  2. sxturner

    11 years ago

    Seems that the Red Sox have a very weak bargaining position – the fact that they spent so much money to talk to Matsuzaka shows how desperate they are to sign him. Additionally, they stand to look incompetent/stingy if they let him get away by not offering enough money – see Damon/A-rod. I’m sure there’s a great fear that if we don’t get him, the Yankees will. Think of the psychological damage that would cause to Red Sox Nation.

    On the other side, we know that Matsuzaka will be a major leaguer in the next couple of years, getting paid a huge amount – if not the Red Sox, for someone else. So Boras can afford to sit back.

    Steve

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  3. HFXBOB

    11 years ago

    I keep hearing about Boras being an ‘innovator’. It seems to me if he really were a creative negotiator this would be a good chance to prove it. He should appreciate the special circumstances of this situation and come up with a contract proposal that would give some protection to both sides and big opportunity to the Diceman: reasonable guaranteed money but heavy on performance incentives. Boras isn’t showing himself to be much of a negotiator at all to this point. I hope that if things do fall out he pays a price for it. His butt should be on the line as much as anyone’s.

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  4. carnett

    11 years ago

    Seth don’t you think it’s about time all the owners get together and say “We will not deal with Scott Boras anymore! If your a free agent represented by Boris, get a new agent, then we’ll talk.”
    It’s like what the former owner of the Brewers(Bud Selig) started in the 80’s. When he suggested with all owners to not deal with free agents and let them stay with their currant teams. Thus keeping player salaries in check. If it wasn’t for The Boss with Dave Winefield it may be a differant game today.
    If owners could show such unity in the 80’s, why not put a stop to this Boris nonsense today?

    Reply

  5. jim

    11 years ago

    People also said Boras screwed himself when he held out JD Drew and brought him to the Independent league. He didn’t do too badly there, did he? Boras is smarter than the Sox FO. He’s done it longer and better because the man has no soul. The Sox knew that going in.

    BTW:

    Lugo = 36 million for 4 years for .760 OPS and C defense.

    A-Gon = 14 million for 3 years for .700 OPS and A+ defense.

    That 20 million (4-5 a year) difference could easily make the difference between signing DM or saying the price is too high. If you could do it all over again, would you choose: a) A-Gon and sign DM with some pain; or b) Lugo and not sign DM with ALOT of pain.

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  6. tinisoli

    11 years ago

    This is all very entertaining, perhaps even riveting, but nothing that has happened seems all that surprising. It was smart of Boras to ignore the Sox first offer, and it was also smart to not bother offering a counter proposal (though if the Sox had waited another day maybe he would’ve flinched). Boras forced the Sox to either up the ante themselves (which they apparently are doing today) or gamble that Matsuzaka would panic and tell Boras to give in. The Sox must’ve known all along that today’s sweeter hand would have to be played. They can certainly spin the flight to California and today’s fatter offer as a crazy, impulsive, Shakespearean act spurred by their their runaway love for Daisuke rather than rational thought, but they must’ve had today’s maximum figure in mind for weeks and they certainly had the plane fuled up and ready to go. Again this is entertaining stuff, but is it surprising that Boras is doing what he’s doing? or that Theo and Henry are talking as though their sole interest is to see this fledgling superstar blossom in the Show? It’s in Boras’ interest to squeeze them for every penny, and it’s in the Sox’ interest to a) land the player, and b) make it seem like they pulled out all the stops to do so.

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  7. stljones

    11 years ago

    I know this is a long shot, but could the Sox approach the Seibu Loins and have them take a stance that Seibu would not allow D-Mat to pitch the final two years of his contract (i.e. Benching him) if he returns to Japan after declining a respectable offer? The Red Sox could then, behind the scenes, supplement the Seibu Lions by paying his salary for them??? This is if Boras is in the mind set that he is going to hold him out until he’s an un-restricted free agent in 2008. Give him a little bit of his own medicine.

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  8. madizzy

    11 years ago

    If Boras screws the Sox on DM (and it looks like he may) then I think that the Sox should find something wrong in Drew’s physical and void that signing. Screw him right back. Nobody else wants Drew. And it’s not like it would be hard to find something physically wrong with him.

    I do agree though that the Sox FO can’t compete with Boras in some cases. They are trying to mix Moneyball and Major Market ball, and are failing miserably at it. The greed of the Sox FO, the ongoing rivalry between grooming talent (Theo) and selling merchandise (Henry), and the complete disregard for team chemistry will prevent this team from winning.

    And the comparisons of Lugo to Gonzalez? Numbers on the field don’t matter. It’s the numbers off the field. And do you know how many Lugo jerseys they are going to sell? Put your Gonzo one right in the closet next to Renteria, Cabrera, Pokey, Nomar, etc.

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  9. benschon

    11 years ago

    Boras’ financial interest in bringing down the posting system needs more coverage. The Red Sox $51 million posting fee goes directly from team to team (to the Seibu Lions), bypassing the player, and therefore it is not subject to Boras’ agent commission. 5% of the value of the contract is what I have seen reported as his standard commission, so he probably figures he is “losing out” on $2.5 million in this transaction. The Sox don’t care whether they pay $51 million to Matsuzaka/Boras or to the Seibu Lions, as long as they get the player. Boras, however, cares a lot.

    I’m sure Boras is looking at the future, and wants 1) posting fees that don’t generate him any commissions to be eliminated and 2) maximum competition among manic, free-spending GMs, which doesn’t happen under the posting system. The only person who can stop this madness is Matsuzaka, who could tell Boras that $10 million a year is enough money, and that he is not willing to be a suicide bomber in Boras’ posting system jihad.

    Reply

  10. crimsonohsix

    11 years ago

    I agree strongly with tinisoli – and I’m surprised that this view hasn’t been taken in any of the publications or espn columns today.

    Reply

  11. dansoxfan

    11 years ago

    much of the commentary relating to this story talks about which monies are and are not subject to the luxury tax. I’d like to propose a more rigorous way of thinking of this.

    let’s make the numbers simple: a team decides it is going to spend $200 million next year, and everything over $150 million is taxed at 50%. that means that the team will be charged $25 million on a payroll of $200 million.

    in this example, the luxury tax for this specific team next year is 12.5%. and an intelligent team (assuming they decided ahead of time that they were going to have a payroll of $200 million) should think of every salary for next year as being taxed at 12.5%.

    the implication here is that the sox are not “saving” the full luxury tax burden by sending $51 million to the Lions, they are only saving a prorated amount.

    just a thought.

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  12. dan 3

    11 years ago

    Popular opinion at the time the Red Sox posted $51.1 million for Dice-K was that they would be able to earn that money back in incresed marketing and television rigths sold in Japan. Why not give dice-k a percentage of that revenue as part of an escalator clause in his contract. That way the sox are not paying him directly for his unproven ability to pitch in the major leagues but instead for his established status as cultural icon in japan. Boras after all was the one who stated the Matsui was worth an estimated 25 million in advertising and tv rights for the Yankees. This way Theo throws it back on Boras, if he is truly worth that much in the Japanese market Boras should have no problem accepting 10-15% of this revenue rather than money up front. Thoughts?

    Reply

  13. jim

    11 years ago

    Dan –

    Zimblast (the only guy I trust on the matter) says it’s 5-10 million a year, at most. And Boras is supposedly already negotiating for that on top the contract. In fact I think that’s pretty standard language these days. Further, he’ll get a windfall from Nike. So DM will get paid. But Boras also thinks he shouldn’t get Gil Meche money when everyone seems to agree he’s clearly a top of the roatation guy. Indeed, if I was Boras that’s what I’d keep hammering home – “They think you’re worth less than this guy…”

    The problem is this:

    The shouldn’t have signed Lugo and Nancy without trading Manny first. Now they’re hamstrung financially. And the obscene bid just makes them look that much worse.

    Reply

  14. V06

    11 years ago

    “The only person who can stop this madness is Matsuzaka, who could tell Boras that $10 million a year is enough money, and that he is not willing to be a suicide bomber in Boras’ posting system jihad.

    Comment by benschon — December 12, 2006 @ 2:46 pm ”

    I dig your analogy but it would be even more awesome to say “kamakazi” instead of “bomber” and somehow use Pearl Harbor instead of referring to a jihad. Although perhaps you are trying not to be racially insensative to Japanese.

    The Boras-Red Sox FO dueling press conferances make for great sports entertainment. This whole conflict keeps me and many others like me from being preoccupied by our more burdensome cares and struggles of day to day life. On a larger scale… who cares about Iraq, Iran, or global warming?
    Many issues pale in significance in comparision to my need for diversion and entertainment… it’s imperative my Red Sox must get their man in the most cost effective manner possible. Because a few million here and a few million there soon starts to add up to some serious money.

    Reply

  15. soxManila

    11 years ago

    I don’t think Boras realizes how important face-saving is to the Japanese. If Matsuzaka returns to Japan, it embarasses his team, causing the team to lose face, thus making him lose face. It will all be a lose-lose situation for Matsuzaka. My suspicion is that Matsuzaka will force Boras to accept the Red Sox offer. The only problem with this is that Matsuzaka will be concerned about Boras possibly losing face, regardless of whether Boras has a face to lose or not. Hahaha.

    Reply

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