Sports Illustrated is reporting that Daisuke Matsuzaka has reached a deal with the Boston Red Sox for six years, $52 million and that the deal contains escalator clauses that could bring it up to $60 million.
This is surprising for a number of reasons.
1. Six years is a pretty long contract. Initial speculation was that Boras would probably ask for a three year deal, so that Matsuzaka could get an even bigger contract after he proved himself in the MLB. Think Clemens money.
2. When you factor in the $51 million posting fee, the Red Sox will be paying at least $103 million for a guy who’s never pitched in the majors. That’s a lot of money.
3. SI scooped ESPN by several hours. When was the last time that happened?
This is a big deal for everyone involved. The Sox’s rotation looks soooooo much more formidable with Matsuzaka. You add him to Schilling, Beckett and Paplebon and…I mean…wow.
And you’ve got to believe that Matsuzaka was terrified of going back to Japan with his tail between his legs. How was he going to explain that he didn’t sign with the Sox (depriving the Seibu Lions of $51 million) because Boston only offered him $52 million dollars? Awkward.
Thank god this deal got done. Matsuzaka immediately becomes the most likeable Red Sox player, if only because he can’t speak English and so probably won’t be sticking his foot in his mouth anytime soon. If only the same could be said for Schilling, Beckett, Drew and Lugo.
One more thing. If you’re Manny Ramirez and you’re looking at the offseason and watching your team sign a guy who is possibly the best pitcher in the world, plus a shortstop with 30 HR, .300 avg., 30 SB potential, how in the world can you still insist on a trade? I mean, if Manny were even remotely interested in winning, why would he want to play anywhere else? The Sox will field a team next season with what will likely be an insane starting five and an offense feuled by Ramirez and Ortiz whose weakest link will probably be Jason Varitek (the captain of the feaking team!). This is a potentially nasty group, provided they can find a closer and the rest of the bullpen (mostly Japanese imports) passes muster. Factor in the uber-passionate fans and the classic ballpark and I just can’t imagine wanting to play anywhere else.
Except Philadelphia, of course.