When Scott Boras negotiated Alex Rodriguez's $252 million deal with the Texas Rangers, you could feel your mouth drop and wonder about the sanity of baseball. But at the end of the day, you at least could reason that, at the time, A-Rod was the best player in the game. A proven commodity. A future Hall of Famer.
Which is far from what Daisuke Matsuzaka is.
One hundred million dollars? Is that what Boras is asking for?
For a pitcher who has never thrown a baseball in a major league uniform? For a pitcher with tremendous ability, according to just about any coach, manager, and scout who has seen him, but who asked the Seibu Lions to post him so he could live his dream as a big league ballplayer? Doesn't he want to be a big league ballplayer first and PROVE he's worth $100 million? Or does he just want a team to hand him the money before he proves anything?
I'm not sure the latter is honorable in any country.
If Larry Lucchino, Theo Epstein, and/or John Henry come close to that number (I'm talking about a six-year, $100 million contract, not counting the $51.1 million posting fee) they should have their franchise revoked.
Matsuzaka won't get that now, won't get that next year, and may not get it the year after that, when he could be an unrestricted free agent.
The New York Mets and New York Yankees were of the same mindset as the Sox when they made their bids in the posting process -- that Matsuzaka was worth in the vicinity of $8 million per year, $10 million tops.
The Yankees can get as crazy as anyone with money, but even they understand the risk.
Matsuzaka is worth more than Roy Oswalt or Roy Halladay or Jason Schmidt? How has that value been determined? By pitching for the Seibu Lions of the Japanese Pacific League? You mean to say that Matsuzaka should be paid more than Josh Beckett, who has won at Yankee Stadium to clinch a World Series? He should be paid more than Curt Schilling?
Japanese baseball is a notch better than Triple A, but also a notch lower than the majors. Granted, it is difficult to gauge his worth, but to say he should make more than a proven All-Star in the majors? Don't think so.
For as much as Boras should be admired for being a terrific negotiator and innovator, he's also capable of the ridiculous and absurd. And throwing out a $100 million figure for Matsuzaka is all that.
Now comes word that perhaps he hasn't negotiated with the Red Sox at all, and that the Sox have had to force the issue by flying to Boras's base in Newport Beach, Calif., unannounced to demand a meeting.
Sox owner John Henry said early this morning, "We're on Scott's doorstep. He hasn't negotiated with us. We're taking the fight directly to him."
The Sox brass indicated that their initial offer wasn't countered and they've made a second offer and are waiting for a counter on that. It's strange that an agent would receive an offer and not counter it. We know that much of this is posturing, which Boras does better than anyone.
But it also makes you wonder if he wants to get the kid signed at all.
Epstein characterized the new Sox offer as the most ever given to a Japanese player. The Red Sox want to make sure Matsuzaka and the Japanese know of Boston's seriousness in trying to work out a deal.
This was supposed to be the story of a fine young Japanese pitcher getting his chance in the big leagues for a big market team with a passionate fan base that is second to none.
Does that matter anymore? Or has Matsuzaka been Boras-ized to the point where he'll be used as a test case of the posting system? A protest? Where only the bottom line matters?
Something about this doesn't feel right.
It shouldn't feel right to Matsuzaka, who could make it right by insisting that his dream be fulfilled this season in a city where baseball matters.