November 08, 2006

More on Matsuzaka

Michael Morrissey at The New York Post, writes about Daisuke Matsuzaka:

The Yankees and Mets are expected to submit highly competitive bids on Japanese superstar pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka by 5 p.m. today, and this battle of international intrigue could make the difference in which New York team gets to the World Series next year.

Throw in the deep pockets of the Red Sox, Cubs and Rangers, and the possible dark-horse bids of the Padres, Orioles or someone else, and you have an adventure worthy of a James Bond film. Call Matsuzaka "The Man with the Golden Arm."

"He's definitely a top-of-the-rotation starter," one major-league official said yesterday. "He's one of those guys that never really throws the same pitch twice in the same sequence.

"He's a guy who should have tremendous success in the States. He's probably like [Greg] Maddux early in his prime - probably with a little more fastball."

Matsuzaka, a 26-year-old righty, won three games in the World Baseball Classic and was the MVP. He then went 17-5 with a 2.13 ERA for the Seibu Lions, for whom he struck out 200 in 186 1/3 innings. Speculation is the bidding on him could go as high as $30 million. There's even been a reported charge of back-channel negotiation by three unnamed teams, and you can understand why.

After the posting process ends, agent Scott Boras will be seeking a deal of four years or more. Boras said Matsuzaka's fastball resembles Tom Seaver's and his slider is like Steve Carlton's.

"He's hard-working, he's disciplined, he's dominated everywhere he's pitched," Boras said. "He's one of those pitchers I think will come over here and have a great impact on a team.

"Having been in the business 30 years, you don't get arms like this, with breaking balls like this, with change-ups like this, that come along very often.

"He's a very special pitcher."

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