Matsuzaka: what the hell?
If you’ve been around here for very long, you know that we’ve been rabid for the team to go after Matsuzaka. We were happy knowing they were ready to do it. I’d sum up the USSM consensus as: his arm’s either going to explode or he’ll do great. I don’t think any of us buy the “his arm is made of adamantium so there’s no way his ligament snaps” – that argument’s been used for many, many pitchers who later went under the knife.
But they’re not going to even bid for him. Why? Let’s hit the big ones.
The posting fee on top of what Matsuzaka is looking to sign for is going to be a ridiculous total package, even for an ace. Say he gets an AJ Burnett contract, plus the team has to pay $30m for the right to give him that contract. Even in a ace-scarce environment, that’s terrifying.
The M’s might look at Schmidt and see a known quantity they can count on who, even on a 4/$45m deal would be much cheaper than Matsuzaka will be.
No accounting hijinks
While the posting money doesn’t count against the salary cap (making this particularly attractive to the Yankees), it looks like the M’s didn’t get a special dispensation from Nintendo to make a bid and still spend $whatever on payroll and player development. Whatever the M’s have said in the past about accounting differently for foreign players acquired as undrafted free agents, it appears that today it’s just another line item, and they decided that they could get more from the money than they would from putting it in a Matsuzaka bid+contract.
Matsuzaka doesn’t want to play with Ichiro
… and he told Boras who told teams, so the M’s said “okay, we won’t bid, then.” I don’t even know how we would start trying to prove or disprove this one.
Waiting it out
Accusations are already flying that teams are trying to tamper with the process, considering posting an immense bid and then telling Boras to stick it. Before the hijinks started, I would have thought that the chance Matsuzaka went on the market as a free agent next year were slim. Now, it’s a real possibility. Maybe, especially given the other factors, they’d rather sit this one out.
He’s repped by Boras
Boras is not a factor. It’s not. Bavasi and Boras are friends, and they’ve come to easy agreements with Boras clients before. The team isn’t afraid or even reluctant to pursue his clients.
The Mariners hate us and want us to be miserable
Between this and Hargrove’s retention, I have to admit that this is pretty persuasive.
(I’ll add more if there’s any suggestions for additional things)
I really don’t know that going after Matsuzaka, especially through the posting process, is financially responsible. It’s going to be a ridiculous amount of money. But in trying to fill holes through free agency, GMs are trying to make the least bad decisions possible. Matsuzaka + random minor league free agents to fill out the rotation is almost certainly going to be a much better decision than Jason Schmidt+Adam Eaton, for instance, even if it’s a pretty wild bet.
The big question that remains, though is that if it’s financial, why not submit what they consider a reasonable bid, even knowing it’ll lose? Even if you think Matsuzaka is going to demand $100m, you can bid $12m, offer him 5y/$35m, and let him go if by some miracle your bid wins. Unless you think he’s not even worth a shot in the dark, and he clearly is, why not buy that free lottery ticket?
I don’t have an answer to that. I don’t understand why you’d want to look apathetic about the best pitcher on the market this off-season, especially given the team’s poor showing these last few years.