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

December 12th, 2006 → 10:48 am @

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