So who is it that won this game of chicken?

December 14th, 2006 → 12:18 pm @ // No Comments

(Note: I’m on a PC. I hate PC’s. For some reason, most of the links I put in aren’t working, so you’ll need to navigate around and find the articles I’m referring to on your own.)

It’s true: I made it to Boston. And waking up at 6 to get to the airport is about as physical as I’m getting today.

So…some more notes on the…now wait: what’s the big story around here? Ah, yes: D-Mat. (I will use every known nickname before the day is done.) Pretty much everyone, Jack Curry in the Times to the Herald’s Tony Mass to Nick Cafardo in the Globe to Gammo himself is saying the Sox got the best of Boras in these negotiations.

On the first hand, that’s clearly true: if the reports are correct and the Sox’s initial offer was somewhere around $6-7 mil for 4 years, $8.7 mil for 6 years is a lot closer to that than the $15-$20 mil for 6 years Boras was looking for. On the next hand, the Sox, on some level, had Boras over a barrel. Zak really couldn’t have returned to Japan (well, he could have, but not without losing so much face he would have needed a face transplant), and despite the late-in-the-game posturing from Boras about Daisuke wanting “respect,” the good folks of Seibu would not have considered $8 million a year disrespectful. (I spoke with Bobby Valentine on Tuesday about an unrelated matter, and he said that the negotiations would be tough but there was no way his players would be facing the Diceman next year.)

But on the third hand, the Sox clearly won this game of chicken, and they did it by showing the type of single-mindedness and determination that’s marked the best days of this front office. Over Thanksgiving 2003, Theo and Larry both went to Curt’s house in Arizona, which showed Schilling how serious they were and also made it clear everyone was on the same page. The same thing happened here. That can only be seen as a good sign. Whatever rifts remain between those two — and rifts do remain — they’re showing they can work together.

There’ll be plenty more to chew on as the day progresses: the $203 mil (or so) the Sox have committed to three players, blowing away every team save for the Cubs look; the reality that Fenway (and particularly the Fenway press box) is about to be overrun by Japanese tourists and reporters…and the question of how, exactly, the Sox will cash in on extra revenue. Hint: It won’t be through TV deals (which I think are worked out with MLB, meaning the Sox would only see 1/30 of that money) or through merch sales (ditto).

OK: I’m late for the Pru.

Post Categories: 2006 Hot Stove Season & Daisuke Matsuzaka & Larry Lucchino & Red Sox & Red Sox front office & Scott Boras & Theo Epstein

9 Comments → “So who is it that won this game of chicken?”

  1. unsure_egoist

    17 years ago

    Seth: When you have a free moment after your whirwind tour of area bookstores, maybe you could weigh in on what Shaughnessy hinted at in his column today (maybe others have hinted at this, too); namely, that the JD Drew deal went down partly as a result of the Sox wanting to sweeten Boras up for the Dice-K deal. If so, does a spoonful of Dice-K make Drew more palatable, even to the doubters?


  2. MarshallDog

    17 years ago

    It’s funny now that I think about it… a lot of people said the Sox made a mistake in increasing their offer despite having no counter-offer from Boras. But in reality, the Sox might have saved themselves some money by giving him this six-year deal. If the Sox had signed him to a four-year deal worth 7 mil per season, at the end of that contract Matsuzaka wouldn’t be an unrestricted free agent for two more years, but would be arbitration elegible. If he’s as good as everyone thinks he is, he’d certainly get more than 15 mil through arbitration. But now the Sox have him locked in at less than 9 mil per season for those two years.

    I love how the Sox handled these negotiations. Once Scott Boras took his rant to the public, Theo and the gang really laid the smack down. I’m a little worried about Lucchino’s “working relationship” with the Seibu Lions. If the Lions really threatened Matsuzaka with reducing his service time and not posting him next year, couldn’t their coziness with the Red Sox front office be construed as a form of tampering?


  3. ConsiderThis

    17 years ago

    Nobody knows the inside details, but it’s clear that the Sox brass knew for a fact they had Boras over a barrel: the Sox could walk away from this deal, but Boras had nowhere to go. After puffing up real big and stonewalling for weeks, Boras found himself obliged to blink.

    I am impressed again with the business acumen of the Sox FO. They are good at assessing talent, good at pricing the market, and good at sticking to their decisions.

    They are thorough enough in their preparations that they need not fear Boras, as some teams show by refusing to deal with him. And no, their decision to sign JDD was a completely independent event based on concrete market conditions. These guys are consistent, too.


  4. cursemyreverse

    17 years ago

    From Time… hilarious: Japan is proud of his success, if a bit worried that expectations in Boston might be running too high. (Japanese fans may be a little fuzzy on Beantown’s traditions, though. Toshiyuki Nagao, a lifelong fan, expressed concern that “there are many academic and white-collar people in Boston, who might not appreciate baseball’s earthy passion.”

    There is NO way the drew deal had anything to do with Dice-K, and vice versa.


  5. Bill Pratt

    17 years ago

    Let the record state that the open letter to Mr. Matsuzaka written by Dan Shaughnessy was literally the first column I read of his that did not leave me feeling like this: (comment #6)

    I got a strange and funny feeling while getting into the sentimentally hopeful spirit of his writing that was somehow void of the usual glib sarcasm. Like the moment you find yourself thinking Boras is saying something truthful. Kind of a good but uncomfortable feeling.

    The hot stove has not been stoking like this since 2003.


  6. chris

    17 years ago

    Press conference… man is this awful.

    1) How many times will the media ask him what he thinks of the media? It reminds me of some old ad campaign about self-centered people where one woman says “enough about me, what do you think of my dress?”

    2) This translator very badly needs to be fired.

    3) He’s barely getting one part of an answer translated… so why do people keep asking him four-part questions?

    4) Finally, fans have to accept that this sort of thing comes with the territory. Japanese athletes aren’t trained to give answers with even a modicum of entertainment value. It’ll be fun when he pitches; that’s it.


  7. vapodge

    17 years ago

    Listening to Dan Patrick on the ESPN radio today, he asked Francona about the “for 2 mil more than the posting you coulda had Damon” debate. Tito danced around it and said there was a lot more that wasn’t reported, it was up to Damon to spill the beans if he chose to, and there were gross inaccuracies in what has been widely reported. Sounds like your book might be an excellent gift for Patrick, since after Tito went off the air, Patrick was saying how he’d really love to know what happened. He acted like it was the first he’d ever heard of the whole negotiation being more than a case of the Sox not willing to give Damon what the Yanks would. Rhought you should know.
    And PCs do suck, unless they’re Hodgeman.


  8. V06

    17 years ago

    Glad to see I’m not the only one who was scatching my head over the incompetent translation. Where’d Dice-K get this guy to interpret for him anyways? He must be a brother-in-law or a cousin to get this gig. He looked a little like a japanese Charlie Sheen too.

    Even always tactful Theo made a comment after the press conference to Tina Cervasio about the translator. I thought from the japanese media chuckling when DMat was giving his answers that he was saying some funny shit… and then Sheen-san gives this dry broken english brief response.

    If this guy was “helping” during negotiations, then the Sox were lucky Dice-K even understood their proposed contract Christ, I hope the Red Sox will be hiring him a new translator before spring training! The season may hinge upon it.

    And how about Theo’s story about taking off for the airport ready to leave w/o Boras and Dice-K? Maybe there was something lost in translation.


  9. chris

    17 years ago

    nd how about Theo’s story about taking off for the airport ready to leave w/o Boras and Dice-K? Maybe there was something lost in translation.

    I missed that part, I’d given up after some ten minutes.


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