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Matsuzaka Derby Down To 5?

RotoWire reports that the serious suitors for Daisuke Matsuzaka appear to be just the Yankees, Mets, Cubs, Red Sox, and Rangers.  This comes after reports of many teams pulling out of the bidding - the Orioles, Dodgers, Angels, and Giants.

Smart money appears to be on New York, or maybe that's just where all the hype comes from.  Hard to tell.  Mike Plugh finds an interesting note in a Japanese newspaper: the Yankees may bid less than $20MM.  As Plugh says, that's a surefire way to make the pitcher a Met.

I think the Cubs and Rangers might pursue Kei Igawa as Plan B, but who's to say that half the league doesn't get in on the southpaw.


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I heard a rumor that the Sox were bidding low too. Can't remember where the article was right now, but the guy pointed out that Henry and Theo don't like overpaying for talent.

Though who knows

Olney pointed this out. Why doesn't a team like the Blue Jays put in a real high bid (say 40 mil) to win the posting, then low ball Matsuzaka with a take it or leave it offer? They would either get the pitcher at a low(ish) price, or if nothing else, they keep him out of New York or Boston(for at least a year). It sounds like there are no rules to stop this, yet I have heard no rumors of "blocking bids."

Even the Yankee's have a cap to the amount of money they can spend.

"It sounds like there are no rules to stop this, yet I have heard no rumors of "blocking bids."

There is actually a good will type clause that prevents teams from doing that. In instances like that, the 2nd highest team wins the bidding.

Cool. I figured there must be some type of gentlemen's agreement. If there wasn't, how would this posting system ever work.

Somewhat related...I have a friend I trust who says unless he absolutely refuses to play in cleveland, Sheffield is going to be traded there.

They are ignoring KC whom has said they will seriously contend. I wouldnt count them out of it.

nom3k is exactly right. And even if there wasn't, it may still be implied into the contract (created by the posting teams acceptance of the offer by the US team) by law.

hmm, very intersting story and all, but somehow i cant see big george just giving up on this guy, as much as i would love to believe it and see the mets swipe him from the bombers, im pretty sure steinbrenner has some kind of trick up his sleeve, and according to the story the mets r the new front runner, ill believe when i see it.

I think this makes sense. Why wouldn't the American teams work together to lower the bar of bidding prices for this process. The higher they go here, the more they will pay for other players down the road, and not just for Posting, but all free agents. If the posting goes for 30MM, for instance, that's 6MM a year headstart on a 5 year deal, just for the right to negotiate for a player. So, in other words, That's going to insure Zito and Schmidt atleast 16MM a year. Sure, Matsuzaka is an ace in Japan with apparently healthy, working parts (insert link to some article somewhere), but Zito and Schmidt have atleast proven themselves against major league pitching, outside of the WBC.

If teams work together to keep the posting bids in a sensical area it is to their benefit. Why pay an extra 30MM just to get a guy 1 year earlier?

Yeah dude collusion benefits all sorts of businesses. It's just illegal. Teams did this with the free agent market, talking to each other in order to keep prices down. They paid for that.

It's unfortunate the Twins can't afford this guy, because with the departure of Radke and the newly publicized fact that Liriano will miss the entire 2007 season recovering from a ligament transplant surgery, they will need to seriously bolster their rotation in order to contend.

Yeah, cause sending a message through a reporter about what you plan to post after a bunch of teams drop out of the bidding...that's not determining the market, or anything. If teams wanted to push the market they wouldn't drop out of the race...they'd stay in it and just not bid. But by backing out of the process and sending mixed messages through the media they are colluding, just legally.

maybe they could ask Hennepin county for another sales tax increase? like, if your gonna be paying for a ball park, you want to have something to watch right?

the Twins I mean

the Twins I mean

the Twins I mean

I don't know if anyone's read about this (if it was ever even posted here, I apologize), but Matsuzaka is supposidley the only pitcher than can effectively throw this first new pitch since the split-finger, the gyroball.

A great article about it here.

I'd say it's worth $30 mil if he can get that pitch over in America.

Uhh, yes, we've heard of it. But that's already been debunked elsewhere...I'm a little surprised that article was written. Matsuzaka has said that he's heard of the pitch, and (I think) that he's working on it. But he doesn't throw one. He's just got an absurd slider and seemingly super-human stamina.

The Yankees and Mets will be rumored as possibilities for EVERY free agent. They always are.

I think a main reason teams are dropping out is one word: Boras. He makes every contract a giant pain in the ass.

Oh, DM does NOT throw a gyroball, at least in games. He said he experimented with it, but does not use it. check out 'Matsuzaka Watch' for everything DM related. But as the other guy said, he's got a great slider, and a good fork/change.

The Athletics seem to have been scouting Igawa as well, so they might join in on the posting.

Slightly off topic... anyone else dissapointed Liriano may be out all next season? Santana Liriano combo could become the scariest one-two punch in the game...

The concession of him to the Yankees seems premature. I'm a Red Sox fan, and I doubt they will sign him but given that they have money to spend but want to avoid the luxury tax and the posting fee doesn't count towards the luxury tax, a big bid isn't out of the question. In other words, they are budget -conscious, but the posting fee might not come from Theo's budget.

But I think the landing spot is the Mets. Why? Because Omar Minaya will not be out-bid, and he would love to win this one.
Matsuzaka may be worth more to the Mets than to any other team in baseball, just as Pedro was 2 years ago, and he might just throw in a crazy-high bid; in fact, I believe he will.

The Yanks will win the right to negotiate with Matsuzaka BECAUSE THEY HAVE TO (except for Wang, their starting pitching is just plain atrocious). They can't sign Zito, because Zito get's lit up like a Christmas tree in the AL east. The Mets will sign Zito and I think he'll do really well there with that big ballpark and facing the pitcher instead of the dh. I see the Mariners signing Schmidt.


hey purtple good point it is dissapointing i would have liked to see how liriano recovered if he came back this year, and your right, that would have defintely been the scaried 1 2 combination in the bigs, by far, atleast in my opinion.

yankee baseball i tend to agree withyou, even after reading the story about steinbrenner not wanting to top the 20 million dollar bidding mark. Now i have to say, if he doesnt top that mark, then DM will almost certainly be playing in queens, but i dont believe for a second steinbrenner will just give up like that. You raise a good point about the yankee pitching, but keep in mind, their not the only team with money to spend and a rotation spot to fill, so i wouldnt count out the bosox, mets, or rangers. I guess we'll just have to wait and see

I'm a Mets fan. I want this dude on the Mets. But, the team I fear most is not the Yanks, but the Rangers. How do people forget about the way Hicks can blow through money. I wouldn't be surprised if he went all out on another Boras boy. Maybe the Yanks got the same word as Seattle, LA, LAA, and the Giants got. Is there something wrong with Daisuke???

Yeah, there's something wrong with him. He costs at least $80MM and your first-born child. I see him in New York, not sure what team yet. It's true that the Yankees NEED him. Pitching and defense wins championships now and the Yanks may be able to slug themselves to the best record in baseball, but won't win a World Series until they fix their pitching. As a Sox fan, Daisuke to the Yanks frightens the hell out of me. Hopefully Omar can bail us out.

You know Papi, in a perfect world, The Sox get Matsuzaka, Mets get Zito, Mariners get Schmidt, and the Yanks are forced to pick up Jaret Wright and Mussina, then give up two good prospects for Jon Lieber.

Actually, in a perfect world, the Sox get Matsuzaka, Mets get Zito, Mariners Schmidt, and the Yanks give up 2 top prospects for Dontrelle Willis. Why is that better then Lieber? Because the pain and anger they experience when he fails miserably in the AL will be so much more intense thanks to the high expectations.

The Yankees don't have the prospects to get Willis anyway.

I know, unless they gave up Hughes, which would make absolutely no sense and has no chance of happening. I said "in a perfect world" after all. :)

why wouldnt it make sense to give up hughes for willis, nobody knows how hughes will react to big league hitters, let alone on the biggest stage in the baseball world. If people think the mets should give up pelfrey in a deal for willis, why not hughes for him on the yankee side... willis is still in his early 20s and proven MLB ace, he also excels when piching in the big apple. Just a thought

I'm sorry but in a perfect world they Realign the divisions and make the Money Divison and put both NY teams Both Sox teams and someone else and give everyone else a break

I love it how other teams talk about getting Willis like he was on sale in Wal-Mart for halfoff. He is still wearing that balck and aqua after a year of speculation. Look What it took to get Beckett for Red Sox two dont miss prospect and taking Lowell contract. Look what it took to get Pierre two dont Miss prospect and a young arm. You see the pattern??? If the yankees wanted Willis it would start with a Tabata, Hughes and M.Cabera and thats only if some other team doesnt up the prize (and they will, Dodger, angels, White sox, Cubs and mets)

nrmax, the reason is that hughes is significantly better than Pelfrey and the Mets are in the NL. Willis has a wacky delivery and wasnt all that good this year. So if he goes to the Mets he could still be solid, but him going from the NL to the AL will inflate his stats.

I also woulnt call Willis a proven ace. He gave up more hits than innings pitched this year and his ERA was approaching 4.

Now the difference between Hughes and Pelfrey? Here are Hughes minor league numbers:
237 IP 269 K 6 HR 2.13 ERA
Hughes is also just 20 years old. Now for Pelfrey's numbers:
96 IP 109 K 4 HR 2.43 ERA
Those number are similar but the real difference is the fact that Pelfrey is two years older and has accumulated 100 innings less. Pelfrey also has made it to the pros and proven that he doesnt have a quality breaking ball. Hughes on the other hand has plus control of all four of his breaking balls.

Pelfrey will probably end up as a reliever unless he can get his slider to work, Hughes looks to be a guaranteed starter. That is why no team would trade Hughes for Willis but trading Pelfrey for Willis probably wont hurt the Mets that bad.

Oh please. The Yankees would trade Hughes for Willis this second if the Marlins would do it.

No, they definitely would not trade Hughes for Willis.

Hughes hasn't proven anything other than the fact that he could get absolutely rocked in the Futures Game.

Kyle, your ingnorance is matched only by your foolishness. To try that argument about Pelfrey and Hughes is just dumb. On baseball prospectus chat, they said that they'd take Pelfrey over Hughes, and that was at the midway point of the season. Pelfrey is two years older, but college aluminum bats for 3 years and an ERA sub 2.0 is quite impressive. He has only started working on his slider, and it is already becoming very good. His curve wasn't good. But, how can you say that Hughes has this "great command of all of breaking balls" when the kid hasn't gotten past double A? Bannister had great control of his breakers in AA too, and when he had to face big leaguers he lost it. BIg difference between facing AA players and facing BIg Papi, Manny Ramirez, Miggy Tejada, V. Wells, C. Crawfore, Etc, etc. Please save comparing these two top pitching prospects until they've both been in the league for two years.

What on relastic term are the chance they both accutually stay with their repected new york teams. I would love it if neither of them got traded. I can see it now Pelfrey vs. Hughes in subway series. That sad part is one of them will probably be traded for some 30 something who good years have past.

Heh, look what I started. It's too early to call either Hughes or Pelfrey 'can't miss,' that term's thrown around way too often. What I meant about Dontrelle was more along the lines of what russell and Kyle said earlier, that the Yanks would have to sell the farm to get him, and that he'd be somewhere between awful and mediocre when he got there. I should probably qualify that statement by saying I'm a Boston fan, and therefore seek a maximization of Yankee suffering, ideally at the expense of future clubs.

Why the hating on Willis? Because his peripherals sucked last year, and I don't trust NL pitchers, especially in the first year of their transition to the AL. I mean look at what happened with Beckett...though his season was more a story of bizarre inconsistancy then domination by a superior league. Which is why I'm not really angry about that trade yet. Oh, and russell...I don't think Hughes or Pelfrey are going anywhere for any reason. I doubt either team is stupid enough to trade them.

How far away do you think Hughes is from a full-time starting job in the majors?

Unless he really bombs in AAA (very unlikely) early this season, he'll probably be called up by midseason. Whether he'll be starting or relieving will depend on team needs. After that, whether he lands the full-time gig depends on his performance. At least that's my prediction.

Hughes and Pelfrey should both be the #5 starters on their respective teams by the AS game. Unless both NY teams go crazy and pick up two free agents like Zito and Meche to the Mets and Matsuzaka and Padilla to the Yanks. Otherwise, each should see the prime time this year.

kyle i agree hughes is an absloluter cant miss, but the fact remains, he hast proved anything at all at the level that counts, im not saying he wont, because he can bre great, but he hast dont anything yet. As for Pelfrey, i agree that he doesnt have great breaking stuff, but that can be worked on. No way he will be a reliever. He showed the ability to be dominant in his limited role, although was irratic, this is to be expected from a young pitcher. Not everyone is going to break in like Jered Weaver or Liriano or Verlander. Give him time under the tutoledge of rick peterson and he will be a very good starter.

kyle i also disagree with the comments on willis. He is, regardless of his performance in 06, a proven ace. You have to remember a good number of his losses came early in the season during Fla's 11-31 start. He is a team leader at 24 or 25 (not sure of the exact age) and has shown the ability to play on the big stage, both shea and yankee stadiums. And the fact remains, if the yankees want willis, they almost assuredly will have to offer up p hughes

Yanks aren't trading Hughes so stop the silliness. He's ranked the best pitching prospect in baseball...

DTrain's a good pitcher but I don't consider him in the same league as Johan Santana, a true ACE.

Hey Yankeebaseball...So was Brien Taylor...how'd that turn out???

I think Hughes will be good, but I don't see him as ACE material. He reminds me of Jeff Weaver coming up. He'll be a suitable #3 or #2 if things go really well. Never an Ace though.

johan santana is an absolute superstar stud, theres nobody in all of baseball like him. doesnt mean willis isnt a true ace

it's very unfair to compare Hughes to Brien Taylor. Taylor tore his labrum 2 years into his minor league career, and was never the same after that. Hughes has never had a major injury. Taylor also didn't dominate AA the way Hughes did (even before the injury). Taylor was also never named the #1 pitching prospect in baseball (during his career).

re: Willis, he's a very good pitcher, but at this point, I would NOT give up Hughes for him. For one, Willis has had only 1 truly great season (2005). Going by Active Career ERA+, he's tied for 20th with Glavine. And he's pitches in one of the biggest parks in baseball. And I just don't see him doing that great in the AL.

The yanks dont need to pick up a ace. Wang is there ace.

That's the kind of attitude I love to hear from Yankees fans, because that's the kind of strategy that will keep them from winning the World Series. Go ahead, Yankees... you don't need any pitching. Especially not an ace or any bullpen help. Hahaha.

From what I've read of Wang, he's not the textbook ace. Those yankee bats helped get him a lot of those 19 wins.
I think he's a good pitcher, I would like him on my team. But an ace, that's just all NYC hype.

As for Matsuzaka, I would like to see one time that one GM/Owner out of the rest of baseball steps up and outbids the Yankees. Hopefully it's not the Mets either but might be asking too much.

"For one, Willis has had only 1 truly great season (2005)."

And just how many has Hughes had?

Yankee fans can only hope Hughes turns out to be as good as Willis is.

papi, who said the Yanks dont need pitching? I'm hopeful the mid-season rotation has both MAtsuzaka and Hughes. Throw in Wang and Mussina, and it could be excellent.

nom3k, i never said Hughes was a great ML pitcher (or that he's better than Willis right now), only that he's the best in the minors. I feel his upside is higher than Willis'. I was merely disputing your comparison of Hughes to Taylor, and your love for Willis. (Dont forget he pitches in the NL, and in a great pitcher's park.)

re: Wang, he WAS there ace this year, but I would hesitate to call him dominant. Mussina still had a lower era. But i dont think Wang's lack of Ks will hurt him longterm. As long as guys keep chopping it into the dirt, he'll be ok.

I hate to agree with a yankees fan on anything, but anyone who thinks Wang isn't a legitimate ace, need do nothing else but ask Peter Gammons or a 2004 Red Sox fan how dominant a ground ball pitcher can be for a team. I cite Derek Lowe winning the clinching game in the ALDS, the ALCS, and the World Series. Being one of only two(I believe) 20 game winners/40 saves pitchers ever..... D-Lowe and Eckersley.

I hate to bring something up without properly citing it...but there was an article on ESPN.com a little while back about Wang. Specifically, it was an analysis of whether his success with such a low k-rate/mediocre walk rate was sustainable for any length of time.

The writer, I think it was Neyer though I'm not sure, found pitchers with similar peripherals who also had great success early in their careers. And none of them stayed ace-quality pitchers for most of their careers. Wang might be a different animal, but who knows? Guys like him have appeared before, only to get figured out and descend into mediocrity.

I'll try and find the article later...it's a little late to go digging right now.

PS: D-Lowe's K-rate for his major league career is 5.77 K/9, and his BB rate is 2.6. Wang's K/9 in his brief major league career is an absurd 3.31 (this year's was 3.14) and his BB/9 2.26. So he walks too many guys considering how many he strikes out. Lowe's not really a good comparison.

OK didn't take nearly as long to find as I thought it would. Sorry about it being subscription only.


So yeah...if I was a betting man, I wouldn't put my money on Wang being a sub-4 ERA guy for much longer.

To summarize part of the article, a sabermetrician gave Neyer a list of starters below age 30 who posted exceptionally low ERA's (compared to league average) with very low K/9's. After their stellar seasons, none of them went on to win even 70 games, though Mel Stottlemyre did go on to post a 3.11 ERA that makes his 67-66 record after his stellar season look a little strange.

Incidentally, I called for Wang to get shelled this season...I was wrong. But I don't feel bad calling for it again for 07. Statistically, it seems likely to happen sooner rather then later.

Most MLB players who have faced Wang say that his sinker is easily the best they have ever seen. I would expect his ERA to climb a bit, but I think he'll still be a sub-4 guy. Hate to say it being a Red Sox fan and all.

me too, wang seems like the real deal, also hate to say it, see lots of his startes being in new york, and not to compare him to mo rivera, but its similarr, hitters know the sinkers coming, but still proceed to pound the ball into the ground almost everytime, similar to mo's cutter, everyone knows its coming, no 1 can hit it. Mo has been doing it for 10+ years thats the difference, i guess only time will tell

I remember hitters saying that with Wang, they literally have to try to swing below where they think the ball will go just to make contact with the sinker. Gross.

yeah i heard that too, i think i hear brandon inge say that during the alds, or joe buck announcing that inge said that, or something but i heard that also

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