Originally Posted by Clockwork Orange
Wow. $30 million just for the right to negotiate a contract with the guy. If he's that coveted, he's going to be able to command top flight starting pitcher money, so this is going to be disgustingly costly for whoever does land him.
He'd better be worth it or else someone's gonna throw a truckload of cash down the sinkhole.
The winning team has exclusive negotiation rights and Matsuzaka's only other option would be to return to Japan and earn somewhere around $4-5M. Its pretty clear that he's signing with Boras though, so he'll get paid, but probably not the $15M AAV that Zito is basically guaranteed.
A lot of sources suggest the posting fee will need to top $17M for Seibu to let him go, so projected posts range from $18-$28M. About 9 MLB teams had scouts at his recent 1-0 shutout against Saitoh, another one of Japan's premier pitchers.
Seattle and the Yanks aren't really ideal teams to spend big money on his posting fee, as most teams view the posting fee as recoupable thanks to increased appeal to Japanese baseball fans. The Dodgers and Padres both come from locations with large asian populations and closer proximity to Japan, improving tourist appeal. The Mets would be a fit as they'd then have another direct competition with NYY for marketshare (Matsuzaka v. Matsui).
The Red Sox are actually interested as well, despite a very small Japanese community in Boston and exceptional distance from Japan. That could very possibly be tied to their ownership of NESN though, giving them the ability to sell their broadcasts and programming to Japanese sports stations. The international live broadcast rights are MLB property and revenue is shared equally amongst all teams, but the Yankees have made exceptional profit selling YES network programming to Japanese stations.
Matsuzaka looks like a hell of a talented pitcher, the big question most people have is less about his ability to get MLB pitchers out and more about health, as he's had many 100+ pitch starts, even a few 140+ pitch starts, and in high school once threw 400 pitches over a three game span. He's been pitching heavy workloads since he was a teen. Its rare for anyone to handle a workload like that without major injuries eventually coming up, but if Matsuzaka is one of those few who can it only increases his value to MLB teams.
His posting bid will likely be settled in early November, so we'll know whats up before most of the major FAs sign. I wouldn't be surprised if Boras intentionally held off Zito's signing until after Matsuzaka's posting, as it'd force all other teams seeking pitching to jump in on the Zito auction, which will get out of hand quickly then.