Monday, November 13, 2006

Breaking Almost News

Well, it's off---almost official, I guess. Gyro-mite sign with us. I hope you're all getting my NES humor.

Thanks to BSM for the link in my coments, but also to Casey, who had it in my inbox 17 seconds earlier...

Some of this article is just the same stuff from yesterday, though.

Comments:
Sho' nuff. I'm real excited about this guy. How many times are we going to be able to sign a 26-year old potential ace pitcher, you know? Looks like we're in on JD Drew as well, which means they're definitely fine with spending $$ this offseason, which I appreciate.

Should be a fun offseason.
 
Link for the Drew info:

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2006/baseball/mlb/11/13/redsox.drew/index.html
 
Something about "far exceeded other teams' bids" makes me nervous...sounds like the "lots of other offers Damon had" business...

Find me one Japanese import pitcher worth $42mil...I don't know about all this...
 
I actually think Drew, at his probable asking price, is a fair amount riskier than Matsuzaka. Way too fragile a player.

Having watched a fair amount of video of Matsuzaka, and having read BP's analysis, I feel fairly confident that he's a very good pitcher. I don't know what his upside is in the US, but I think the comparisons to Irabu, who was dramatically overhyped 9 years ago, are unfounded.
 
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Find me one Japanese import pitcher worth $42mi
>>>>>>>>

The one we just signed.

AJM's right- go read Christina Kahrl's analysis on BP. Go watch him on YouTube. There's risk in any FA signing. This was literally a perfect storm of events for the Sox to get a young, tested, impact pitcher in the current FA climate.

Seriously, the Sox FO deserves a standing O for going the extra mile on this. This was a great, great move.
 
edit- Change that to read "the one we just won the bidding for." Haven't signed anyone yet.
 
I think the difference between this FA signing and your typical one is that usually, you've seen what the player can do in our leagues. I know the guy was MVP of WBC, and that he's proven himself a great pitcher in Japan, and I'm not saying it's not gonna work out, but I just worry about it due to the size of the investment- $42mil, plus whatever we need to spend to sign him for 3 or 4 years- this deal could end up making him one of the highest paid players in the game, and he's never pitched a ball in the Majors. I know the scouting reports are glowing, and God, do I hope they're right. Is this an exciting signing? Hell yeah. As people like to say, "He's got tremendous upside," right? Well, so does Clement (sarcasm intoned here)...and don't even get me started on Drew: an injury-prone underachieving malcontent is the last thing this team needs. The fact that the FO is willing to spend money excites me; it's the guys they're reportedly targeting that concerns me. I will, as always, stay cynically optimistic on this one.
 
And edit that to mean that all of the money involved in the whole deal represents being "one of the highest paid players;" obviously, Ceibu gets the $42mil...
 
Matty- again, I'd point you to the Christina Kahrl breakdown on BP. The quick and dirty is that if you consider the Japanese League to be roughly equivalent to AAA, a guy posting numbers that consistently dominant in AAA would command a HUGE price if he ever hit the open market at that age. Which he wouldn't- which is the point.

People bemoan risk in big free agent signings, and while it's necessary to assess it in every move, it's prevalent in EVERY move. I'd say that the risk of Matsuzaka is certainly dwarfed by bringing in any one of Zito, Schmidt, Suppan or Padilla, even assuming any one of them would want to come here.

Keep in mind the $42 mil doesn't count against the luxury tax, and that this can be seen as a long tern investment. Opening a pipeline to that talent pool is huge- they're all Yankee and Mariner fans there for a reason. It's akin to the cosmetic improvements to Fenway, in a way.

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and don't even get me started on Drew: an injury-prone underachieving malcontent
>>>>>>>>>>>>

Well the latter is sportswriter fodder, and I don't really have an opinion on it either way because I neither know the guy nor have ever heard anyting credible on that line.

As for underachieving- that's ridiculous. he's been a Top 10 OF over the last 3 seasons by VORP. When healthy, he's an exceptional hitter, and a great defender- a guy that can play CF, and is perfect for Fenway's RF. You sign him and you're free to trade any one of Ramirez, Crisp and Pena, or you can trade Lowell, move Youkilis to 3b, Pena to 1b. Yada yada. Anyway- JD Drew is absolutely not underachieving.

He was certainly injury prone early in his career, but hasn't missed significant time since being moved to ATL save for a broken wrist from a HBP, which he can't really be blamed for.

I actually think Drew is, in theory, a perfect fit. The issue is money and years, so you can't judge it without knowing that, but just as a player, we need more JD Drew types.
 
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The fact that the FO is willing to spend money excites me; it's the guys they're reportedly targeting that concerns me.
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

The other question- who would you prefer if not for these guys?
 
Please, I've read the BP article, and yes, the numbers look great; again, I'm not saying it won't work out- it's just a huge investment. A lot of what's being said about DM sounds a lot like what was said about Beckett before we got him, and that experiment bears watching, as I'm skeptical about him, too, especially considering the financial investment we've already made in him. Now the long-term foothold in Japan is a good point, that I'll agree with. And I understand the $42mil doesn't count against salary cap for lux. tax purposes. And yes, JD Drew is great defensively, has been solid offensively for a couple years, I was saying underachieving in terms of his whole career, not just a couple years. Considering the hype surrounding him, he should have been putting up those numbers for longer than three years. He's gonna be 31 next week, so he's not that young. And none of us know the guy, obviously, but from the time he refused to sign with the Phillies, through his time in LA and St. Louis, there has been persistent chatter that he's not the best guy in the clubhouse. I firmly believe that where there's smoke, etc...who else out there is better? Well, for starters, I don't think a corner outfielder is a real priority. Is DM a better choice than Zito or Schmidt? Possibly. On Japanese paper, he looks like it. At Fenway? I guess we'll see. The Ramirez trade is not going to happen, good luck getting rid of Lowell's contract, and who'll take Crisp at this point? And honestly, I think Youk's a better 1B than a 3B, although the sample size at third is slimmer. So just acquiring Drew to free up someone for a trade doesn't make much sense either. I'm probably wrong about all this, I usually am; it just seems like the FO is trying to make a big splash (good) while at the same time, taking pretty big risks with a lot of money (bad). Yeah, there's risk in anything like this, yeah, there's not much else out there, but jeez, who's to say without all the injuries last year, we wouldn't have held on to the division? I don't think, positionally, we need a huge retooling; pitching obviously needs attention, but everyone can pretty much say the same. And I think one of Jere's original points, as clouded by his hatred of the Yankees payroll as it is, is very valid. Their money makes some teams do things just to prevent the Yankees from doing them. Remember how upset everyone was when Contreras got away? Well how'd that work out? That could be us. I hope not, but it could be.
 
FORGET about the $42 million expenditure...the Sox have already figured out how to get it back 5 times over with their burgeoning Japanese awareness. This is a profitable deal for the Sox. To think otherwise means your heads are in the sand. I meant that nicely.
 
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That could be us. I hope not, but it could be.
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Well, anything could happen. So you do your due diligence, which includes a lot of numerical research and comps (check) and extensive, extensive scouting (check). The Sox seem to like what they see.

JD Drew has been an elite hitter his entire career, when healthy. His health is his big concern, certainly, but he's gone a long way to allay those concerns recntly. If you don't like the guy, that's one thing, but he's a legitimately great player.

Again, I'll ask- how often do you have the chance to get a 26 year old possibly ace pitcher and be able to negotiate with him as the Only Team? Not only does he project better than Zito or Schmidt (the former who'd be a flyball lefty at Fenway movng from OAK, and the latter being over-the-hill, not that great anymore, and with significant shoulder issues), but there's no indication whatsoever that the Sox are anywhere near on those guys' radar.

As for the $42 mil, it's not my money. I doubt they'd be doing it if they didn't think they could pay it and still field a great team AND make it back in some way.
 
And in no way was my comment directed towards the Drew possible acquisition...that's a horse of a different color.
 
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but from the time he refused to sign with the Phillies
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You realize Jason Varitek did this as well, right?

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And in no way was my comment directed towards the Drew possible acquisition...that's a horse of a different color.
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Well it figures this would piss you off considering it's more or less guaranteeing Nixon is gone (a good thing).
 
Well aware of Tek's situation, but I think that's where the comparison with Drew would end. At the end of all this, I think the Red Sox getting that entry to the Japanese market is what will ultimately prove most important here. And I think you're distorting my cynical concern into some dire prediction I haven't made. I think some healthy skepticism of this FO is in order, considering some of the decisions that have been made regarding the pitching staff the last two years or so. I'm not predicting DM's failure, I'm just questioning, almost Devil's advocating, the point that this is a lot of money for, in my mind, a relatively unproven commodity. Doesn't mean I don't wanna see him go 22-8, 3.35 with 200+ K's...I'd love nothing more than that. I'd say I'd love to see him prove me wrong, but I'm not predicting failure, so I'll say I'd love for him to allay my (probably unfounded) concerns.
 
Well I get you're devil's advocating, so that makes my role "prove why I think it's a good deal." I'm lustily critical of the FO when they deserve it, but I think, considering all the circumstances, they deserve a fucking standing ovation for going above and beyond for this. Identifying a situation like this and then spending the money to make sure they won is a big deal, I think.

He may suck. Of course this is true. But I just think it's eventually true of every single player for one reason or another that it becomes this sort of intangible concern whenever a deal is made. Risk is omnipresent, so personally, I prefer to narrow it to specific risk per the player, and that's where the analysis of record, etc comes in and, where the FO is concerned, excessive scouting, which they've done on him.

I'm not ignoring the huge risk, trust me. I'm just sort of emerging from the consideration of it saying, "yea, this was a great move."
 
I feeel about it just how Matty does in his last comment.

Peter, yes we know about the Japanese market and all that stuff, but if the guy's an absolute bust, knowing that there are a lot of Red Sox hats in Japan won't make me feel any better about another 3rd place season. Although the extra money from the whole deal would help us in the long-term, which would be good. So, whatever. F the Yanks.
 
Jere, again, if not Matsuzaka, then who do you get? If you look at the numbers, who would be the better addition?

You can bemoan risk only so much- sometimes you have to strike out and make a big run at someone for the bigger reward.
 
I guess it's the fact that with any other guy, we've seen him pitch against players we know, we've seen them beat the Yankees, etc. I know if I moved to Japan right now, I'd be so clueless, I definitely wouldn't be able to get my job done, let alone be the best at it. Like Matty said, we're not a bad team. We had a better record than the World Champions did. I'd be all for putting that dough into the farm system, liek I know Theo wants to. I hate that we're a "win now" team, because you're always screwing yourself in the long term if only a little every year by thinking you've got to spend big or else the fans will revolt. This is where the Yanks make the whole damn league unfair for everyone.

I think if we stayed healthy and had one new guy in the rotation who's done well, whoever he is, and then kept developing pitching talent, we'd be all set for this year and the future. Also, in my world, as you know, we'd still have Arroyo.
 
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
 
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I guess it's the fact that with any other guy, we've seen him pitch against players we know, we've seen them beat the Yankees, etc.
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Who, Barry Zito? The guy that wants to pitch in either NY or LA, and who would be a flyball LHP in Fenway park coming from a pitcher's haven and commanding upwards of $80 million? That guy? Or the guy that is dying to play in Seattle with his right arm held together with fishing twine (Schmidt)?

Yes, he's Japanese, yes he's not pitched (recently) against MLB'ers. There are ways to analyze his numbers, though. They look to translate pretty nice.

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Like Matty said, we're not a bad team.
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Even if this is true, which is highly debatable, the idea is to get better.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
We had a better record than the World Champions did
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Unfortunately for us, we can't prepare our team to compete in the NL Central. This is why we need to spend money where a great opportunity presents itself.

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I'd be all for putting that dough into the farm system, liek I know Theo wants to.
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

We did. They spent more on last year's draft than any team in baseball, and had what most called the best draft as a result. We cana fford to do both.

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I hate that we're a "win now" team, because you're always screwing yourself in the long term if only a little every year by thinking you've got to spend big or else the fans will revolt.
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Can we be a win now and later team? Because a good way to do that is to assemble a core of players (esp. rotation) entering their prime. Beckett- 26. papelbon- 26. Lester- 24. Matsuzaka- 26. It's a win now AND later move. That's one of the big drawing points, obviously.

I'm struggling to discern how signing Mats screws us in the long term, too.

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This is where the Yanks make the whole damn league unfair for everyone.
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

This has nothing to do with the yankees, and for the record, The Yankees are a reason this is a perfect alternative in the first place. The Yankees revenue sharing has made things MORE fair. Teams are locking up their young FAs, and as a result, the chance of an ace of this calber and age coming onto the market is practically non-existant.

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I think if we stayed healthy and had one new guy in the rotation who's done well, whoever he is, and then kept developing pitching talent, we'd be all set for this year and the future.
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Or we could spend some of the unbeleivable amount of revenue we have on a guy that makes our team a lot better. My mind is blown that you'd rather John Henry keep his money and we TRY to go pick up some older, more mediocre pitchers instead. Why?

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Also, in my world, as you know, we'd still have Arroyo.
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Bronson Arroyo? You mean the guy that plays for the Reds? What does he have to do with this, exactly?
 
A point so thumping, BS had to make it twice...I think we've about talked this one to death, which is why I resorted to Gummy Bear-related nationalism on my last SBF post...let's move on. We'll see him soon enough, I suppose...
 
I'll add this...$51.1mil, and Boras says, "As always, pitching is at a premium." I don't think this deal gets done...
 
Well, Matty, the Sox may or may not sign Matsuzaka, but any rhetoric or posturing that you hear out of Scott Boras is meaningless bluster. Boras doesn't have nearly the same leverage here that he normally would, for several reasons:

His client really wants to come to the US right now.
Seibu has to be positively drooling over that $51.1mm...they'll put any pressure they can to make it happen.
And, most importantly, the Sox have exclusivity...Boras can't make up his usual bullshit about how some mystery team is willing to offer 20% more.

So the Sox will still need to negotiate in good faith and make a decent offer, but the odds that they can get a deal done are very good.
 
Yeah, AJM, the Boras leverage issue is one I cover over at my site today...will be interesting to see how it all plays out...
 

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