Everybody wins with Matsuzaka deal










除了陣中兩位高齡40歲的名投Curt SchillingTim Wakefield


另外三位可能先發投手人選D-Mat, Josh BeckettJonathan Papelbon






"只要投手表現優異, 再強大的打線也會被壓制" 的Yankees






Everybody wins with Matsuzaka deal

Ken Rosenthal / FOXSports.com

Posted: December 14, 2006

When all is said and done, the Red Sox's total payout for Japanese right-hander Daisuke Matsuzaka likely will be similar to what left-hander Barry Zito commands as a free agent.

The final numbers — $103 million (six years, $52 million in salary, plus the $51.1 million Boston will pay to the Seibu Lions) — are a triumph for the Red Sox, and a triumph for Matsuzaka, too.

The Sox secured long-term control over Matsuzaka even though his agent, Scott Boras, wanted to make the pitcher a free agent as quickly as possible.

Matsuzaka, 26, gained the opportunity to enter Major League Baseball in his prime, rather than play two more years in Japan before becoming a free agent.

His salary would be higher if the Sox hadn't paid $51.1 million for his rights, but Matsuzaka won't exactly suffer financially, commanding perhaps $20 million per season in endorsements.

In the end, everybody wins — even Boras, who did not get the deal he wanted, but protected the interests of his client, helping him fulfill his desire to pitch in the majors.

The posturing is over. The reputations of both Boras and the Red Sox in Japan are secure. And suddenly, the Sox boast — potentially - the best rotation in the AL East.

Along with right-handers Curt Schilling and Tim Wakefield, both 40, the rotation will feature three 26-year-old righties — Matsuzaka, Josh Beckett and Jonathan Papelbon.

Matsuzaka is something of a mystery; he could prove to be a $100 million bust. But most major-league teams project him as a top-of-the-rotation starter, not the next Hideki Irabu.

Perhaps now Sox fans can stop dreaming about the return of free-agent right-hander Roger Clemens. Then again, Clemens is a special case, and money doesn't seem to be an issue for the Sox, does it?

It's not inconceivable that the Sox could sign Clemens and trade Beckett for a closer; they didn't rule out the possibility of moving Beckett when rival clubs asked about him at the winter meetings.

Still, the Sox have control over Beckett for four years, Papelbon for five and Matsuzaka for six. Lefty Jon Lester, recovering from lymphoma, also could be part of that group. He expects to report to spring training, and he's only 22.

The Yankees don't possess nearly as strong a pitching foundation; perhaps no team does. And, given the escalating price of starting pitchers, the Red Sox's advantage only figures to grow.

Their chances next season, though, remain in question. The Sox still need a closer, and they figure to be below-average offensively at three positions — first base, second and center field.

No one knows how shortstop Julio Lugo and right fielder J.D. Drew will adjust to Boston. No one knows whether left fielder Manny Ramirez will play hard or sulk all season.

For that matter, no one knows how Matsuzaka will adapt to pitching every fifth day instead of every sixth, pitching in a new country, pitching against formidable AL East offenses.

What's more, the chances of Matsuzaka staying healthy for all six years are perhaps slimmer than they are for other pitchers, given his huge backload of innings dating back to high school.

The Sox surely would prefer greater certainty for their $103.1 million, but they'll benefit from newfound marketing opportunities and an increased presence in Japan.

If Matsuzaka pitches as well as Zito — a reasonable possibility, given Zito's declining strikeout rate and rising opponents' OPS — the Red Sox actually might look back on the deal as a bargain.

Relatively speaking, of course.

Ken Rosenthal is FOXSports.com's senior baseball writer.