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Scouting Report: Daisuke Matsuzaka – RHP

Posted by Jason A. Churchill on October 26, 2006

Daisuke Matsuzaka is the be-all, end-all, let’s face it.  If the Seattle Mariners land the Japanese superstar, their offseason can be labeled a success, almost regardless of what else, if anything significant, accompanies his arrival this winter.

Personally, I LOVE the idea of adding him to the M’s pitching staff, and I don’t care if it costs $40 million in posting fees and $10+ million per season through 2009.  But it seems that somewhere along the way some folks got the idea that Matsuzaka is the greatest pitcher in history of baseball, in any country in any era. 

That simply is not the case, though Matsuzaka is clearly a very, very good starting pitcher, and he’s worth as much or more than any free-agent starter this league has seen in quite a few seasons –  including the 40-something Roger Clemens. 

The 26-year-old hurler, however, should not be expected to roll into the U.S. and post sub-3 ERA’s and lead the league in strikeouts. 

So, what exactly can we expect? 

That’s hard to tell for sure, and, contrary to what some ‘net rats would have you believe, there is a lot of value in a professional’s opinion, particularly those who have followed Matsuzaka’s 2005 and/or 2006 season. 

We’ve read the analysis of those who have followed Matsuzaka’s past few campaigns from afar, using statistics, comparisons and a few minutes of footage over at youtube as evidence.   Now it’s time to back those up with the trained eye.

Two have agreed to reveal their team affiliations in retro if their club loses out on the bidding… 

What I found most interesting is that the scouts thought somewhat differently of Matsuzaka than the others.  One spoke very highly of the way he uses his fastball, even as an out pitch, rather than falling in love with his curve or forkball. 

Another thought Matsuzaka indeed fell into spells of overusing one of his offspeed pitches and a third saw no particular pattern at all, which he thought was sensational. 

“I can’t get enough of a pitcher who will not use a pitch when he doesn’t need it,” said the AL scout.  “Far too many pitchers show a hitter everything in each at-bat and all that seems to do is help the hitter and the rest of the lineup.  If someone can’t hit a well-located fastball, what’s the point in using anything else.” 

Matsuzaka’s four-seam fastball sits in the 90-94 mph range with average movement.  The key to his 4-seam heater is the plus command he displays of the pitch on a regular basis. 

“He’ll fight the corners until he finds the zone,” said the AL scout.  He’s not afraid of walking a couple while he’s feeling out the strike zone.  He rarely shows poor control and when he does it’s typically with his breaking stuff and offspeed stuff.  He usually has good command of both of his fastballs.” 

Yeah, he said both.  Matsuzaka also uses a two-seam variety, in which he can cut in and out off the plate, as well as sink down out of the zone.  It’s not a pitch that any of the scouts saw a lot of in 2006, but enough to know it’s there.  Rafael Chaves is a big proponent of the two-seamer, especially the kind that induce ground balls, and Matsuzaka can often end an at-bat with a ground ball, when he’s looking to do so. 

“Most strikeout pitchers give up the fly ball, and therefore the home run, too,” said the veteran scout.  “But Matsuzaka hasn’t been looking for the strikeout, at least not regularly.  He seems to understand that getting outs, no matter how they come about, is the name of the game. 

“You see those Ks and think he’s Nolan Ryan, but he’s not.  He can pitch, and that sinking fastball he’s got is probably underused.  If he focused on that pitch more, it might be a 6 or better (on the 2-8 scale.”) 

Matsuzaka’s 2-seam heater typically hit the 89-91 mph range, but touched 92-93 in one start in May, which led the NL scout to believe that he’s intentionally taking velocity off the pitch.

“I’ve seen him throw nothing but fastballs and sinkers for two innings at a time, maybe three, and give up zilch.  He overmatched a lot of clubs but even when he was fighting his command, he was tough.” 

Now that’s pitching. 

The four-seamer received a 65 from one scout and a 60/65 from the other two.  With the average MLB fastball believed to be about 87-88 mph, Matsuzaka’s velo alone is worth a 60 grade. 

Matsuzaka’s BEST pitch is his curve ball.  At times, it appears to be a slurvy style offering, but he throws it like a curve ball, so that’s what we’ll call it. 

If you have not seen the video of Matsuzaka from last May and June, google that sucker, because he throws a few curves that will boggle the mind. 

“That thing can be devastating,” said the veteran scout.  “It’s a real good curve, one of the best you’ll see on any continent.  He can hang it every once in awhile, but when it’s working it’s a late, and sometimes double-breaking pitch. 

“It always shows a sharp downward break like most curves do, but sometimes it slides in on left-handed guys and away from the right-handers.  He’s tied up more lefties on that pitch…” 

Usually clocked between 77 and 81 mph, Matsuzaka’s curve ball needs a nickname, because it’s a plus-plus pitch, and I don’t care what anyone else says. 

“I think it’s a 70,” said the veteran scout.  “If he can get outs with it in the states, I’ll rethink that, but for now, I’ll stand by that.” 

The NL scout said: “It’s well above average, I like it a lot.  After you’ve seen a few good fastballs on the corner, you can’t adjust to a curve ball like this.  It’s certainly a plus pitch.” 

The soon-to-be 26-year-old’s most important pitch might be his change.  Matsuzaka uses a forkball type grip and with his flawless arm action, he creates great deception in both speed and movement on the forkball. 

I’d prefer not to call it a forkball, but apparently it’s more of a fork than a split, due to how deep the ball sits in Daisuke’s fingers.  It’s more like a dead salmon being thrown 83-86 mph down at Pike Place, but instead of reaching the hands of the fish market gurus, it smacks a glass wall that we can’t see with the naked eye, and slides to the floor, uncatchable, unhittable. 

“I agree, that’s got a good chance to be the most critical pitch for him in America,” said the AL scout.  “Power arms with good change-ups can’t miss over here and he’s got the makings of a pretty good forkball.” 

“I’d give it a 55 or 60, for now,” said the veteran scout.  Most of this is, of course, based on how the pitches fared in Japan, since that’s pretty much all anyone has seen thus far.” 

“It’s above average,” said the NL scout.  “His arm speed is solid and the action is pretty good, but it’s a feel pitch and he does tend to lose a good feel for it at times.  Sometimes it appears to be unavailable to him.” 

Four above-average pitches, plus velo, good command, good arm speed… what else is there? 


“He’s not all about stuff,” said the NL scout.  “He’s not a thrower – if he was, he wouldn’t be any good over here in the U.S.  He thinks out there on the mound, and the key for me is the way hitters react to his pitches.  They just don’t have good Abs and they are rarely locked in.  That’s a great sign.” 

Matsuzaka drew comparisons to Hideki Irabu in these conversations, based on Irabu’s Japanese success and the way he could intimidate hitters and force an uncomfortable experience in the box. 

“Yeah, he’s got some of that,” said the AL scout.  “But as you watch him start after start, it’s not just about the hitter not being confident – they aren’t – but he’ll drill a guy, he pitches inside, which is a bit rare over here.”

So, he’s pretty smart, confident, has no qualms about buying back the inner half of the plate. 

Sign me up. 

“I’d take him in heartbeat,” said the veteran scout.  “I know we’re interested or I wouldn’t have spent so much time typing up all those reports.  I’d pony up the dough if it was my money to give.  He’s a terrific talent. 

“The workload would worry me after 30 (years of age) or so, but not until then.  And there aren’t many clubs in baseball that would allow him to surpass 125 pitches regularly, or go much past 215 innings, so he should be fine. 

“I think he’s a strong No. 2 pitcher who will eat 200+ innings.  He’ll dazzle at times and struggle in others.  But the good will outnumber the tough ones by a large margin.  He’s the best option on the market, and it’s not close.” 

“I don’t know if I’d ever expect him to be a (number) one,” said the AL scout.  “Not so much because he can’t, but why put pressure on him?  Just wind him up and let him go, and keep a reasonable pitch count on him.  Major League teams will probably prepare him for a little bit longer schedule, and his innings should be monitored. 

The work he’s got over here was pretty heavy for awhile and that is a factor with all pitchers.  He’s a frontline arm with electric stuff and a ceiling as high as just about any righty in baseball.”

“It’s an easy question to answer.  Get him a physical, jump for joy when he passes and shelter your $60 million investment.  He’s a risk; I’d be worried, but only because of the financial venture.  I wouldn’t bet on him breaking down anytime soon – he’s probably worth that risk, anyway, ya know?  He’s a legit top-of-the-rotation type, though he may need some time to adjust to the ways of the American game – and it’s hitters. 

“Say what you want about the Classic, but he’s never faced Manny and Papi one week, Thome, Konerko and Dye the next, and then Giambi, AROD and Matsui the next. The biggest thing to watch for is how the best hitters in the world react to his best, once they’ve seen him.  That’s going to be his biggest challenge. It’s going to be tough, but there’s no doubt in my mind, or anyone else’s that I have spoken with, that he’ll be a success in Major League Baseball.” 


Daisuke Matsuzaka, RHP – Seibu Lions

Born: 9-13-80
Bats/Throws: R-R
Ht/Wt:  6-0/205
Scott Boras 


4-Seam Fastball: 65+
Sits 91-94 mph, touches 95+ on rare occasions.  Good movement, can tail away from lefties and in on righties.  Slight downward plane keeps ball near bottom of zone. 

2-Seamer: 65+
Sits 87-90 mph, has sinking, cutting action.  Can change speeds on demand, improving pitch. 

Curve Ball: 70
Sits 77-81 mph, sharp, late bite.  Immediately one of best curves in game.  Can adjust break to gain lateral movement like a slider with vertical break of typical curve.  Good depth, consistent arm slot. 

Forkball: 60
Usually 83-87 mph, split-finger type change-up.  Baffling at times.  Can change speeds effectively – and at will. 

Delivery/Mechanics:  70
May have trouble holding runners in the states with his slow wind up, but doesn’t lose stuff from the stretch.  Very consistent arm slot helps all of his pitches. 

Straying Power:  65
He’s just 26 and though his workload is a popular issue, he’s showed very few signs of breaking down and there’s no reason to believe he won’t be very good through and beyind his original MLB contract, which is likely to be three years. 

OFP: 70
There is no reason Matsuzaka won’t be a legit TOR starter who dominates at times.


Scott Boras is certainly going to want free agency granted after any three or four-year deal, rather than arbitration.  It’s a simple procedure where the signing club contractually agrees to decline to offer arbitration at the end of the contract, making the player a free agent. 

But three years at $10 million per?  Sounds like he’s worth it.

The latest word, as of Tuesday night, was that so many clubs that were originally interested aren’t very confident about their chances, due to the full-blown efforts of the two heavy favorites, the Evil Empire and the Seattle Mariners.

Odds on the Winning Bid – Teams 

Favorites :  New York Yankees – 5-2, Seattle Mariners – 3-2.

Contenders: New York Mets – 10-1, Los Angeles Dodgers – 15-1, Boston Red Sox – 15-1 .

Long Shots: Texas Rangers – 25-1, Los Angeles Angels – 30-1, Chicago Cubs – 30-1, Chicago White Sox – 30-1, San Francisco Giants – 40-1, Philadelphia Phillies – 50-1, Baltimore Orioles – 50-1, Houston Astros – 75-1, St. Louis Cardinals – 75-1, Arizona Diamondbacks – 75-1, Detroit Tigers – 75-1, Atlanta Braves – 100-1, Toronto Blue Jays – 100-1.

Odds are based on the opinions of 11 baseball executives who have expressed their thoughts on the posting process, some publicly through a number of media sources, or via private conversations. 

I can say this about the Seattle Mariners… they are PLANNING on winning the bid.  But they also don’t want to be baited into going so high that it doesn’t make sense anymore. 

My amateur advice would be to go hard after him, keep your plans close to the vest, but make sure that the financial investment doesn’t exceed the potential payoff.  Both on and off the field of play. 

Rumor has it that Matsuzaka’s first choice by far is to play in Seattle and the Mariners can offer more than any other team in all of baseball. 

The money will be there wherever he ends up.  You can argue, successfully, that on the surface the Yankees and other clubs can offer a better chance to win now, and a better shot at consistent postseason play, but the M’s aren’t that far away, especially if Daisuke joins the roster this winter. 

The Yankees (Matsui), Dodgers (Nomo) and Angels (Hasegawa) have all had success with the Japanese stars, but the M’s blwo them all away with Ichiro, Sasaki, and the biggest advantage the M’s have, in regards to where Matsuzaka’s desires may lie. 

Kenji Johjima, the M’s starting catcher, plays a large role in this process and several news reports, both recently and over the past year, have suggested that the idea of a Japanese-speaking catcher is a big part of why Matsuzaka sees Seattle as the best fit

Yeah, I know what you are thinking.  This is a bidding war and Matsuzaka’s desires don’t really matter all that much, if at all. 

I don’t buy into this blind bidding, not at all.  I tryly think that if Matsuzaka wants to go to Seattle bad enough, that is who will “win” the bidding, some way, somehow… which leads me to the following: 

Prediction:  Seattle wins the rights to Daisuke Matsuzaka with a $28 million bid and signs him to a three-year contract worth about $11 million per season.  The Mariners will not balk at Boras’ demands of free agency at the end of the pact.


160 Responses to “Scouting Report: Daisuke Matsuzaka – RHP”

  1. Slackman said

    At last, the article we’ve all been waiting for! I certainly think that the M’s will do everything in their power to get Matsuzaka. But even if the M’s bid around 28 million like you predicted, Jason, is it out of the question to think that the Evil Empire will bid around 40 million? They could probably afford it. Plus, do you mean that even if the Yankees bid more, it’s possible that Matsuzaka could wind up in Seattle if that’s where HE wants to go? How would that be possible? I hope it is possible.

  2. Goose said

    A lot of people has suggested that the posting process isn’t what it seems so who knows.

    Never before, has so much ridden on the acquisition of one player. I don’t even want to think of what will happen if we fail to land him. I pray to the baseball gods above to let us have this. It it means that we do absolutely nothing else until spring training, then that’s perfectly fine. Just as long as when I roll into Arizona in March, that DM is there wearing a Seattle uniform.

    I have zero problem with Boras’ demands of free agency if thats what it takes. Instead of offering him arby after 3 years, we just offer him an extension after he loses the Cy Young to Felix in year 3.

  3. marinerswinws said

    Wow nice article, i hope we win the bid.

  4. mundeazy said

    awesome article JC…no mention of the gyroball?

    so he throws a cutter and tailing fastball?

  5. Goose said

    The curveball is the “gyroball”.

  6. Matsuzaka also throws a slider, a shutto and a kitchen sink. The two-seamer was added during the last off season, before the WBC with the specific idea of using it in the Majors. He also trained in front of a mirror to optimize his deception during that time.

  7. warner28 said

    This guy is a must get, a 1, 2 punch of Felix and DM would be devastating.

  8. slica said

    Well worth the wait.

    I’ve been saying for awhile that I dont think the posting process is all that it seems. Too many japanese players end up where they wanted to go despite the posting process. Since the bids are never publically announced, noone will ever know if they were truly outbid…

    Far as we know, the Yankees could of outbid the Mariners for Ichiro…honestly, though I dont remember too much…

  9. Orlandu said

    Good stuff Jason. I hope the Mariners get him.

  10. MarinersInMacau said

    All the talk about a 1-2 punch of Felix and Matsuzaka is great! What are the chances that the M’s run Washburn out there as the opening day starter?


    1. Veteran experience
    2. Take pressure off young (Felix) and new (Matsuzaka) pitchers.
    3. Can work in less overall innings during the year for Felix/Mat.
    4. Hargrove is our manager

  11. taro said


    Nows the time to drop the line about MLB baseballs breaking more than NPB baseballs. 🙂

    Matsuzaka’s curve is an 80 is there ever was one. His forkball a 70. And a ton of other great breaking pitches. That would be enough itself, but he is also a master of pitching according to the hitter’s specific weaknesses (as the scout mentioned). There are very few pitchers with Matsuzaka’s overall skillset.

    The scouts are somewhat biased towards the NPB, but their reports of Matsuzaka’s raw skillset all point to the fact that hes an ace from day one.

    This is a pitcher thats tough to oversell.

  12. Jerry said

    Man, the M’s just HAVE to get this guy.

    If the M’s sign him and only make minor moves afterwards, that will be OK by me.

    If they don’t get him, I really can’t see how they could end up with a successful offseason. Of course, they could always come up with some amazing, totally unexpected trade for someone like Jeremy Bonderman or something. But, really, Matsuzaka is the only viable option that is even sorta palatable. The plan B’s – Zito and Schmidt – are so much less exciting.

    It is strange to think about adding a guy like Schmidt or Zito as disappointing, because both guys are good pitchers. But Matsuzaka is just a perfect fit. They really have to get this guy in an M’s uniform.

    The one good thing is that this issue should be resolved sooner than later. Unlike most Boras clients, Matsuzaka’s future team should be sorted out before December 1st. Thus, Boras won’t be able to hold out until February and hijack the offseason.

    This could easily be the most important move the M’s have made since letting Tejada go to Baltimore.

  13. CMT said

    Great article Church.

    I think if we lose the bidding for DM, I might actually cry after all this hype we’ve got about him.

    Oh please baseball gods. Give him to us.

    Let Matsuzaka play with the player he truely wants to play with, Ichiro and Johjima.

  14. Slackman said

    If the posting process doesn’t truly matter as has been mentioned above, I think Matsuzaka would come to Seattle because of Kenji Johjima. That was already mentioned as a factor as well.
    I’ve never seen a scouting report like that since I saw one for Felix! Electric! Simply electric!

  15. jp17 said

    Alot has been said about him maybe having problems with the different sized baseballs in the MLB.

    I was wondering what ball was used in the WBC? Anyone know?

    He certainly didn’t have any problems with it there.

    Also, what is the set date for bids to be put up, and when is the latest we would find out who won the bidding?

    Great article.

  16. toshi said

    RE: 15

    The MLB baseball was used in WBC. Matsuzaka practiced quite a bit using the MLB ball before WBC, and said he loves it because breaking pitches break more. The MLB balls are not only slightly bigger, but also have higher seam as compared to Japanese balls.

  17. I hope the M’s get Matsuzaka, or at the very least, that the Yankees don’t get their filthy pinstripes on him.

    By the way, is there any pitcher currently in the MLB that Matzusaka compares well with — I can’t think of one — Chris Carpenter, maybe (???)

  18. Fred said

    The guy probably is worth a high price. The suspicion lurks, however, that the Yankees will make an artificially high offer to force the Mariners to top it.
    The M’s should have a bottom-line price in mind—$25 million, $30 million?—beyond which they will not go. I have no doubt they can deal with Boras, if they win the original negotiating rights.

    $25 million-$30 million, if spent on other free agents or on player development, could make a real difference.

  19. Ms fan stuck in NY said

    Great write up JAC. We gotta get this guy. You have no idea how many Yankee fans I deal with on a daily business, and im the reason they know this guys name! If he ends up in pinstripes and I gotta listen to all their garbage.. needless to say it’s difficult.

    Go M’s

  20. jp17 said

    re: 16

    Good to hear. That takes away another concern, and shuts up those who said that would be an issue. Probably should have known what they were talking about before making such statements.

    I can’t believe that the M’s would NOT post for Matsuzaka, but I do like that they may be playing the disinformation game.

    Plus having Boras as an agent gives us somewhat of an advantage I would think….of course I’m one who also believes that the posting process isn’t all that it seems.

  21. Willmore said

    Very nice write up. Over the past few days, I thought about it, and I think that the Red Sox will win the bidding. They are keeping a really low profile right now, but they are mad at the way the season played out, and they know that starting pitching is the best and quickest way to vastly improve a team.

    They might keep a low profile and sneek in a 35+ mil bid just to get their hands on a #2 starter.

    The Yankees aren’t as promiscuous with cash as they used to be, in my opinion, so they won’t go beyond a respectable 20 mil bid. The Mariners are a funny thing. They want to compete, they want Matsuzaka, but posturing or not, I can conjure an image of Lincoln stubbornly refusing to unclutch his checkbook. That’s big money, and the upper management might be scared off by such an investment, no matter the possible rewards.

    In short, I’m cautious about our supposed good chances of getting Matsuzaka.

  22. Rich said

    I really hate to say this, because I’m usually an optimist. It feels in my gut like they won’t get this guy. Not that they won’t try. I’m just worried that some rogue owner is going to blow up the field with some insane offer like Hicks did with A-Rod. Granted, that didn’t work out so well for him, but this is a pitcher and teams are SO desperate for pitching….

  23. If the process is on the up and up, which I don’t believe at this point that it is, than I think the Yankees will get him.

  24. warner28 said

    Why even have a bidding process that apparently isn’t even on the up and up?

    Why not just allow the MLB teams and the NPB teams to negotiate directly and the NPB team takes the deal they want?

    It seems simple enough and eliminates worries over blocking bids and allows the player (provided his team will work with him) to go where they want (which is a good thing IMO).

    These guys ain’t kids and have earned the right to control their destiny (at least partially).

  25. MoneyTalks said

    > I don’t buy into this blind bidding, not at all.

    I’d love to know how Matsuzaka’s desires enter into the picture if NY gives Selig a larger bid than Seattle’s. I’m sure I’m not alone. Would you please explain that?

  26. How do DM’s desires play into the picture if NY hands in the biggest bid? Well, exactly because the process isn’t true… like I said.

    I don’t KNOW this to be the case, it’s just a strong feeling I have. There’s only been ONE posting in history, so it’s not a matter of track record.

    But pretend for a second that my hunch is right… Matsuzaka’s desires become the ONLY factor that matters.

  27. warner28 said

    Actually 2 posting have occurred (off the top of my head) and both players got to go to their supposed 1st choice:

    Ishii-Los Angeles

    So a little more evidence that the system is rigged.

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  29. larryl said

    My understanding is that the winning bidder is not bound to pay unless a deal can be signed with Matsuzaka. It’s hard for me to believe either the Yankees or the Red Sox will allow the other to win the bidding. One team can simply bid 60 mil, then not sign the player forcing him to return to Japan for another season. Do you think that is a possibility?

  30. StandinPat said

    No, that isnt a possibility because Siebu will pick a bid from a team that they know will sign DM. They arent dumb enough to fall for some $60 mil ploy that screws them out of getting $25-30 mil.

  31. […] Very detailed look at Daisuke Matsuzaka. Who will get this guy? He wants to go to Seattle, and I don’t blame him for that. Of course it would be nice if the Mets got him, I think if they’re planning on getting back to the post season they will need him (or someone like him) as old as Pedro is. Just anybody but the Yankees. […]

  32. ichirific said

    Actually 2 posting have occurred (off the top of my head) and both players got to go to their supposed 1st choice:

    Ishii-Los Angeles

    So a little more evidence that the system is rigged.

    Bit more than that, but the “system” is still “new”:

    Year Player NPB Team MLB Team
    1999 Alejandro Quezada Carp Reds
    1999 Timo Perez Carp none
    2001 Ichiro Orix Mariners
    2002 Kazuhisa Ishii Yakult Dodgers
    2002 Akinori Otsuka Kintetsu none
    2003 Ramon Ramirez Carp Yankees
    2004 Akinori Otsuka Chunichi Padres
    2005 Norihiro Nakamura Kintetsu Dodgers
    2006 Yusaku Iriki Nippon Ham none
    2006 Shinji Mori Seibu Devil Rays

  33. toshi said

    For your viewing pleasure, here is the video in which Matsuzaka struck out 14 batters in a game: http://youtube.com/watch?v=bLAgxBHWNeM&mode=related&search=

  34. toshi said

    One more: Here is a rare video in which Matsuzaka faced Ichiro for the first time in Japan. He struck out Ichiro in three consective at bats. Both of them look so young.

  35. Willmore said

    StandinPat, Seibu has no choice of a team. They must pick the highest bidder, in fact, they don’t even know the other bids, only the highest.

    So that scenario is possible, though unlikely.

  36. Oly Rainiers Fan said

    #32: Where’d you find that list? I thought the posting process only came into play in 2000, and prior to that it was just an agreement between the 2 leagues not to raid each other (that’s what some guy in the Commissioner’s office told me just last week anyway).

  37. slica said

    When does this process happen exactly?

    Actually, can you just answer this:

    When will it be known where DM is heading?

    Thanks for any response.

  38. ichirific said

    #36: The posting system was in response to Hideo Nomo’s slick departure in 1995.

    #37: November 1st it all starts. And “it will be known” probably around November 10th — like Ichiro’s posting was.

  39. ichirific said


  40. warner28 said

    I thought the posting process didn’t come about until Irabu forced his way to the Yanks.

  41. Deanna said

    Yeah, I was going to say, there were DEFINITELY many more players to go through the posting system. Nori Nakamura just went through a bit too late for his own good. Yusaku Iriki just sort of sucked so much that nobody cared and he didn’t get any bidders. I’m not sure what was the case with Otsuka but he didn’t either originally.

    Ichiro was just the biggest bid and the biggest star. Both Matsuis were free agents, and Iguchi even got the Hawks to release him so he wouldn’t have to go through the posting nightmare. Remember, Orix just flat-out sold Shigetoshi Hasegawa to the Angels, pre-posting process, too, around the same time as the Irabu fiasco.

  42. The main rumors here in Boston — and most of them are just coffee shop babbling — are that Matsuzaka wants to go to Seattle. I’m also hearing that the Red Sox are balking at the potential asking price so I’m pretty sure Boston is out of the picture.

    It’s the M’s or the Yankees and I REALLY hope that George Steinbrenner doesn’t get to add Matsuzaka to his filthy payroll. If he does, I hope Matsuzaka goes 1-15 with a 10.80ERA in his debut season. If the M’s get him, I hope DM is the ROTY when he begins his MLB career.

  43. Willmore said

    “I’m also hearing that the Red Sox are balking at the potential asking price”

    These rumors are what scares me. The Red Sox are the dark horse in this thing. They can easily come out of nowhere and post a bid that beats everyone else and all the Mariners strategy goes to shit.

  44. I wouldn’t worry, Willmore. The Red Sox very likely don’t have enough money to post a 30 or even 25 million bid. Plus, with free agents like Barry Zito in the US market, they might just be willing to let the Yankees take Matsuzaka and have the Bombers out of contention for Zito, Schmidt, etc…Oh, for the record, again, PLEASE NOT THE YANKEES!

    The Mariners have to outbid the Yankees and the Yankees only; the only question is, can they?

  45. MatthewCarruth said

    Can they is not the question. They can. The Ms are insanely profitable. The question is will they.

  46. gwangung said

    Well, it’s more that the ownership is insanely rich. Ever look up the ownership in the stock watching databases? Even after the dot.com bubble, that’s serious money there….

  47. JasonAChurchill said

    When will it be known where DM is going?

    I think I already know, and so do some here.

  48. MtGrizzly said

    Inside information snob.


  49. JasonAChurchill said

    I don’t think it’s insider stuff at all.

  50. marinerswinws said

    I hope he comes here, it would give us a boost.

  51. chaney said

    34: That video of Matsuzaka facing Ichiro was great. I love watching Ichiro hit with his old weird leg kick. After watching those at bats, I started to wonder if any MLB pitcher had ever struck out Ichiro thrice in one game, so I looked it up.

    Ichiro has only fanned three times in a game on four occasions, and only once did all three come off the same pitcher. It was Tim Hudson on September 19, 2003, the year Hudson posted his lowest ERA and highest IP total. Pretty ridiculous. Hudson has 7 K’s that day, but gave up 4 earned runs, doubles to Guillen and Edgar, a homer to Olerud, and lost the game (Ryan Franklin won).

  52. Ya mean the year Hudson was on the juice?

  53. Matthew C said

    Well, it’s more that the ownership is insanely rich.

    While true, no, it’s not really that. The Mariners as a business entity reap gigantic profits.

  54. marinerswinws said

    Hudson was on juice i never knew that haha.

  55. slica said

    Ha…well, I meant when will it be CONFIRMED where DM is going…but answered either way, so thanks.

    The only way to be worried about Boston is if the posting is on the up-and-up, which most of us dont think it is. If DM has any choice in the matter, why would he go literally one of the farthest places in the world from his hometown, for a team with virtually no Japanese ties?

    The only teams im concerned with are the Yankees, Mets, Angels, and Dodgers. Still…its pretty obvious the Mariners have the ball in their court.

  56. From what I’ve heard, it’ll be confirmed on or around November 10.

  57. Just curious, should the M’s get Matsuzaka, do you think he’ll be the Opening Day starter in 2007?

  58. Nice article. Sort of feel bad for you guys. He’s a Yankee already, and you can all fantasize all your fantasies, like everybody else does, until hard reality sets in. The Yankees will get him and they will be in the playoffs once again. The M’s will not, and they will go down again in perfect annonymity.

  59. Goose said

    It’s official Jason, you now have reached the big time. When a Yankee troll chooses to grace you with his presence you know your good.


  60. slica said

    Must of taken him forever to find this place, with his brain size, and all.

  61. 2quarters said

    Yeah “annonymity,” what an idiot.

    Anyways, let’s just ignore this fool.

    Jason, great write up on Matsuzaka, sounds like a pure number one to me.

    Having two on our team will surely be a huge luxury.

  62. slica said

    Im still confused…Larry Stone, whom some M’s fans seem to trsut, wrote up that the M’s aren’t that serious…similar to another recent article.

    I know people have said a million times that the M’s could be playing ‘that’ game…or its just bull, but you cant help but be a little weary. They didnt fire Hargrove. They OWE us.

  63. david flock said

    well boy’s and girl’s all the talk of
    getting matsuzaka is foolish. if the m’s do get him you have to remember they stayed the course with hargrove so if you had five cy young’s on the staff your still in last place. need i have to remind you sign barry lamarr bonds, gain a cool million in attendance and start all over in 2008

  64. Adam B. said

    My concern is what options will the Mariners have if they fail to obtain Matsuzaka. Certainly they’re the front runners (not withstanding the opinions of Yank-off egotists on that other coast) but if something should fall through, what other GOOD options are there?
    They could (and probably would) go the Schmidt or Zito route, but that envariably results in them overpaying for someone who is entirely overhyped and not nearly as talented.

    The trade market doesn’t look any better. With the best options being guys like Freddy Garcia, Carl Pavano, Dontrelle Willis and Matt Clement “topping” the list. And these guys aren’t going to be any cheaper.

    Pitching has always been in high demand, and it isn’t an understatement to say that the Mariner’s 2007 hopes HINGE on them acquiring “Dice-K”.

    Oh, and as a bi-product of the M’s signing Matsuzaka that’d put the Yanks in the unenviable position of throwing Andy Phillips and whatever other remnants of their gawdawful minor-league system at Florida for the rights to watch the D-trains arm fall off in the Bronx.

  65. Hank said

    I think the Yankees are too overly confident over signing both Matsuzaka and Barry Zito that they’ll lose out on both.

  66. MoneyTalks said

    > But pretend for a second that my hunch is right… Matsuzaka’s desires become the ONLY factor that matters.

    I asked for evidenced, not assertions.

    As long as we’re playing “lets pretend,” lets pretend that Seibu sends over a pony instead of Matsuzaka.

    Thanks for sharing your expertise. This InterWeb thingie is great!

  67. Oly Rainiers Fan said

    I don’t understand why y’all think the posting/bidding process is NOT going to be on the up and up. According to Larry Stone’s article, it’s the MLB commissioner’s office to whom the bids get faxed, so if it’s NOT on the up and up, you’re alleging that the commissioner’s office is the entity that will, in effect, cheat, so that Matsuzaka gets a chance to go where he said he wanted to (my recollection, which could be completely wrong, tells me that his assertion that he wanted to play for the Ms wasn’t quite as assertive as a ‘I will play for them but no one else’ but he was just stating a slight preference while knowing he has no choice in the matter).

    So if the Yankees (or Red Sox, or whoever else) really wants him, and submits a bid to the commish that is, in fact, higher than the Ms bid and yet, the Ms win the posting process and the winning bid # is leaked out, just how do y’all figure the commish’s office pulls that off and maintains team owner unity and happiness (which they’ve clearly valued over the years). I just don’t see it happening.

    Or maybe you’re alleging that Lou Melendez who receives the bids is going to wait till the last minute, call Bavasi and say ‘okay, the highest bid so far is…’ Slightly more plausible but still – what would be his motivation to do that?

  68. EA said

    you’re alleging that the commissioner’s office is the entity that will, in effect, cheat

    You’re right. The idea that the Commissioner would be involved in something underhanded is extremely odd. Bud Selig is as honest as they come. He’s been both an MLB owner AND a used car dealer!

    I don’t know how legit the process is but I think the odds are decent that, for the sake of good relations with NPB, Selig is going to make sure Dice-K ends up somewhere he’ll sign so that Seibu can get their tens of millions of dollars. I doubt Bud really cares what city that is as long as the post gets paid.

  69. TalkBaseball said

    Hey Church, I always believe your stuff and you sound confident that the M’s will go hard after Masuzaka. But there have been soooo many articles saying that we are not interested some even stated that Yamaguchi ( spelled incorrectly) wanted to go another route. At what point is posturing really mean not interested. I was really positive about this, but after so many negative articles I think are chances are realistically 10-15%. Hopefully I am off base.

  70. Oly Rainiers Fan said

    So if the NPB really cared about Matsuzaka’s happiness, and wanted him to be able to go where he wanted to go, they would have just released him instead of posted him. Then he’d be a free agent and could go wherever he wanted.

    If Matsuzaka really wants to be in the MLB, he’ll sign with whatever team wins the bid. His only other choice is to play another year of Japanese ball, then try again.

    I agree that Selig and MLB in general isn’t the most upright and respectable of organizations, but – if they screw around with this and the other teams bidding on him find out or even suspect they did, then they’re basically threatening THAT relationship (between the team owner and the commissioner’s office) and/or the relationship between the owners in general. I’m not convinced they can pull it off basically playing both sides.

  71. EA said

    I don’t think NPB cares about Matsuzaka’s happiness. However, Seibu definitely cares about keeping a $20+ million dollar posting fee. A conspiracy to make this happen doesn’t have to be very complicated. One possible bit of maneuvering could involve something like:

    Boras gives Selig (or an appropriate delegate) a list of “acceptable” teams.

    Said person goes to those individual teams and asks “Just how badly do you want to win?” with a wink and a nod.

    If an “acceptable” team wins the bid then that’s the end of it.

    If an “unacceptable” team wins the bid then the Commish just has to declare the closest “acceptable” team the winner with a post of “unacceptable”‘s post + $1M (or whatever).

    Only about half a dozen people or so need to be in on it. It’s really not that hard. Selig can run a pretty tight ship when he wants to.

    Of course, on the other end of the spectrum Boras and Matsuzaka could intentionally sabotage the negotiations so that Dice-K can cross as a free agent next year. A nice little parting poke in the eye at Seibu for refusing to post him last year.

  72. Willmore said

    TalkBaseball, Tamagochi (joke) isn’t even the owner of the team. He sold his share of the team to Nintendo of America. He has not say in the team beyond his remaining influence at Nintentdo (from which he retired).

  73. gwangung said

    Well, what’s on paper doesn’t tell the whole story. All the major real estate developers never own their big downtown properties; they’re all in the name of limited partnerships. But once you unwind all the legal paperwork, you see where the control lies. Same with Yamauchi and the Mariners. This has to do with estate planning and generational transfer of assets.

    But not interested in Matsuzaka in sooooo many stories? Changing a long standing practice with regards to Japanese players? On a player that would fit in to the team’s needs so neatly? Not interested? Sorry, but that’s simply not credible. I can believe that they could get outbid, but not to make a credible effort? No way, no how.

  74. Oly Rainiers Fan said

    Off topic, but generally about absence of Ms pitching…

    TNT article today discusses how Mark Lowe’s surgery/injury was more complex than initially thought, and how sometimes this injury/surgery is career ending.

  75. Matthew C said

    USSM saying the Ms aren’t even bidding on Daisuke?

  76. RavingGoat said

    Can’t win if you don’t bid. Stupid M’s brass.

  77. Deanna said

    To Oly: You know, the Daiei Hawks released Iguchi rather than posting him, and then a year later Daiei ended up having to sell the team. Might not have been the most brilliant financial move. Seibu’s screwed no matter what they do, so they might as well get a hefty posting fee if they’re going to lose their main attraction. I mean, look at the Blue Wave, they posted Ichiro and ceased to exist three years later.

    Oddly, though, even the Japanese press is talking about the Mariners not making a bid now.

  78. Goose said

    Sigh, seems the Yankee troll was right.

  79. Willmore said

    Ok people, calm down.

    If the process is not on the up-and-up, then the bids somehow get leaked from the front office to the teams interested in Matsuzaka. Teams have 72 hours to bid starting Nov. 1st. That means that on Nov 4th is when all the serious bids start coming in, because they will want maximum information before actually submitting anything.

  80. M-Pops said


    The best misinformation campaign ever! The FO has even the Japanese Media believing that it will not even SUBMIT a bid. Just masterful. This is exactly what I would be doing if I were positioning my team for this posting period.

    Gwangung is right…Matsuzaka just makes too much sense for this team. One could argue that he would be worth more the Mariners that to any other team:
    -Please Yamauchi
    -Increase likelyhood that Ichiro extends his contract
    -Envigorate fan base by beating the Yankess at something
    -Have one of the best 1-2 punches in baseball in Felix and Dice-K for the next 4-6 years

    Makes way too much sense for the Mariners; this is just little misdirection to try and bring the price down…I hope.

  81. Adam said

    It’s confirmed. The Mariners will not be posting for Matsuzaka. Great. Now we get an old, worn down, deteriorating pitcher like Schmidt.

    And the brilliance continues…

  82. Ke Mai said

    confirmed where?

  83. gwangung said

    In the PI and on the team web site.

    And it just doesn’t make sense not to try. What’s going on here?

  84. Goose said


    “A decision has been made by Mr. Yamauchi,” Bavasi said, “that we will not be participating in the bidding process.”


    Hello Jason Schmidt and Adam Eaton.


  85. Katal said

    But Goose! At least Jason Schmidt and Adam Eaton are local boys! That alone is will keep fans coming to the ballpark!

    ugh. I don’t even have it in me to be snarky right now. All I want to do is curse.

  86. slica said

    I really hate this team.

    Yet, ill keep coming back…ugh.

  87. Oly Rainiers Fan said

    I don’t know, I think it’s kinda funny.

    In that ‘god, haven’t we hit rock bottom yet?’ kinda way.

  88. slica said

    Seattle has been through a lot of crap the past year or two…not just the Mariners.

    Its getting beyond frustrating. Its even more annoying thinking about Washburn getting a huge deal as opposed to DM…

  89. Bavasi is telling everyone that Yamauchi instructed the club NOT to bid on Matsuzaka.

    That’s the word, though I don’t totally buy it as the end-all to the situation. But the org has locked up the mouths so that’ about all there is.

    I wasn’t even allowed to leak the Mark Lowe info… and it’s as bad or worse than the beat guys are writing on it. He may never pitch again.

  90. Goose said

    No DM, Mark Lowe’s career may be over, the Mariners looking at a possibility of Jason Schmidt and Adam Eaton…

    My god, whats gonna happen next?

  91. Oly_Chris said

    Goose, they say bad things happen in three’s. Maybe Hargrove will be put in charge of player acquisition, or get a ten-year extension.
    Isn’t this “the pits”?

  92. Nathan said

    Is there any clear reason why we are not bidding?


  93. Yeah.


    Is Matsuzaka worth more than 60 million bucks over 3 or 4 years?

    That’s what the Mariners are asking themselves and apparently the answer is no.

  94. marinerswinws said

    I think DM is worth that much but thats just me.

  95. SethGrandpa said

    The thing is they’ll probably pay Adam Eaton or some other joke 50 million…

    I cannot stand anyone who has power in this franchise.

  96. Willmore said

    Something doesn’t smell right. I mean, I thought the Mariners were tight with money, and might not put in a high enough bid, but this is crazy. What kind of a team goes out a tells their fan bas that they aren’t even going to post a bid ? Why not keep quiet, see the Yanks win the bid and just say “Well, we can’t really compete with the Yankees.” This makes almost no sense from a PR standpoint.

  97. jp17 said

    Well if there is to be no DM, then what?

    I don’t believe any of the other available pitchers can get us into contention. I don’t believe Zito would sign here. Pretty much leaves Schmidt as the best available, although maybe not the best fit long term. They must make a move on offense IMO. They have put out the idea of obtaining a corner outfielder. Unless it involves trades, I don’t see this as being a very good offseason.

    Sounds like we’ve been prepared for the big letdown.

  98. Salty Dog said

    #96: I’d bet it’s Yamauchi’s way of saying, “You disrespected our interest in you by signing with Boras and signing with whomever ponies up the most money”. And you know what? I’d rather they be honest than do what almost every other team is going to do – throw in a token bid that’s far less than what the Yankees or Mets will offer, then say, “Hey, we tried”. Either get in to win it or don’t make an effort.

    #97: I think the offseason can still be a success if we can get two good pitchers (I’m hoping for Schmidt + one of the other pitchers from Japan ). An upgrade via trade for a LF would be nice, too.

    Bottom line, when the big budget teams go hard after someone, you can find better value elsewhere.

  99. Sneekes said

    I think the Mariners are acting fairly sensibly over this.

    They see DM, and they like him – but they have 2 worries – 1 major and 1 minor:

    MAJOR: Due to the Yankee’s interest and Boras’s insistence on only getting DM for 3 years – a $20m+ posting fee puts the whole contract into the ‘too risky’ category

    MINOR: The M’s blogosphere is waxing lyrical about DM, and they all think he’s coming to Seattle.

    So, they start by leaking info that they’re not going to be held to ransom, then that they’ll go soft after him – not hard – and now that they’re not going to bid at all. This has the effect of disappointing the fans in a drip drip fashion – which is easier to cope with than if we all think they’re going hard after him then the Yankees win. It also has the possible effect of lowering the Yankees bid.

    So, I think the Mariners are posturing, they will bid for DM, but they will bid nowhere near the $30m mark, probably in the $15m-$18m range. This probably won’t be the winning bid – but it might – and if it is – it’s low enough to make a 3 year deal possibly worth it.

    It doesn’t make sense for any team (other than the Yankees maybe) to say they’re going to go hard after DM and do so. The other teams are much better off pretending they’ve no interest in the hope of lowering the winning bid – or making a play of going for him and then bidding a dime in the hope of making the winning team bid way over the top.

  100. Interesting, we came into the Matsuzaka thing thinking that the M’s and Yankees had the best shots. Now the M’s are dropping out to pursue Schmidt/Zito and Adam Eaton. The Yankees seem to be on the cheap side when making their bid because it’s rumored Steinbrenner and Cashman are more interested in Schmidt and Jeff Suppan.

    I’m disappointed that the M’s won’t get Matsuzaka, but I’m happy that the Yankees likely won’t get him either.

    The question is, does this open the door for other teams (i.e. Mets, Cubs, Red Sox, Giants, Orioles, Cardinals) to potentially get Matsuzaka without breaking the bank?

  101. drrrew said

    Here’s what I don’t understand. If they’ve decided that the finances simply don’t work, in what delusional PR land do they live in where they announce that to the public?

    Why wouldn’t you either make a cursory lowball bid or just make no bid at all, and keep your mouth shut? Maybe I’m missing something but I see no apparent upside in coming out and announcing that reported cost is too great. That may very well be the fact, but you don’t put out a frickin press release about it.

    I guess they could still make some moves that would excite me before the upcoming season but Jason Schmidt and Adam Eaton are not those moves.

  102. Matthew C said

    Because that is what you do in America, and this is not an American matter. The rules are different in Japan.

  103. Rich said

    They’re definitely not going to bid. It’s not their style to announce something to the fans and media unless they’re going to do it. Deception is just not their way.

    I’ll reserve my judgement on this until I see who they sign instead. While DM is undoubtably a great talent, he is a definite risk and the M’s are in the situation of needing both quality AND quantity. They must feel they can land two pretty good pitchers for the price of one potentially great one. If they can, it may make more sense to do that. Let’s see if they can do it. Bavasi’s job hangs in the balance.

    Frankly, I’m more bummed out about Mark Lowe.

  104. Sneekes said

    Because they’re either lying – and figure their lowish bid stands more chance if others think they’re out of it, or maybe they don’t want to appear to have been beaten on DM – they’ve taken themselves out of the game?

    I guess we’re so used to teams keeping their cards close to their chest that we don’t know how to react when one just comes out and tells us what it’s thinking

  105. Ben said

    # 103….Rich, you just took the words right out of my mouth. Frankly, I think this whole posting situation with DM (if it goes over 15 Mil) and the whole choosing Boras as his agent thing could ultimately be bad for the overall health of baseball.

    If the bidding and contract negotiations go as high as they are projected…..I’ll be proud of the M’s for being responsible with their money…..and not contribute to hurting this game that I love so much.

  106. Matthew C said

    Yeah, it’s way “better for the game” that people like Gil Meche, Jeff Suppan, and Adam Eaton make 8-9 million a year.

  107. gwangung said

    From where I stand, money was a large part of it, particularly with the American front office.

    However, that could have been overcome from the Japanese side, if Yamauchi wanted it.

    Yamauchi DIDN’T want it, and that’s why the announcement was made. What caused that is not known, but I suspect that Yamauchi didn’t cotton to the Boras style of negotiating.

  108. C. Cheetah said

    I am REALLY confused…
    Hasn’t HISTORY taught the Mariner’s FO / Yamauchi anything?
    1. Bavasi has worked out deals with Boras before…I do not see DM being any different, and I REALLY do not understand or comprehend why Yamauchi would even care who the agent was, since Yamauchi does not get involved in such matters
    2. To go deep into the playoffs, you need to 2 TOR pitchers. The rest of the staff can be filled with Washburns, Suppans, Baeks, or even Jeff Harris for that matter. If you are in the hunt come ALL-Star break, you trade for a rent a pitcher then for your 3 or 4 spot in rotation.
    3. Spending $60 – 80 million on DM for next 3 years, and using Baek & othe replacement level pitcher VERSUS using Schmidt, Meche or Suppan and Baek at roughly the same money for 3 years….WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE Moneywise???
    I am lost by the logic of the Mariner FO, unless of course they are reducing the overall payroll….
    I see more 90 loss seasons than 90 win seasons on the horizon if Bavasi / Yamauchi / Mariners head down this path.
    Who knows, maybe the guy in Oklahoma City wants a baseball team in 3 years when these incompetent fools ruin this team entirely…

  109. gwangung said

    Bavasi has worked out deals with Boras before…I do not see DM being any different, and I REALLY do not understand or comprehend why Yamauchi would even care who the agent was, since Yamauchi does not get involved in such matters.

    He does when it’s a Japanese player.

    And I suspect there was plenty of base-touching in Japan these past month or so.

  110. johnb said

    60 million over 3-4 years for a kid that hasn’t thrown a major league inning yet? I really want him, but not at that price with Boras attached. I would be more than happy with Zito and Schmidt, too bad we wasted the money on Washburn last year….what a waste.

  111. Slackman said

    I’m with you on that! Matsuzaka’s got unbelievable stuff and I would love to have him on the M’s but the price just isn’t worth it. He has no MLB experience and all the wear and tear on his arm (270 pitches in one game at Koshien, for example)makes it too risky.
    Schmidt is getting older but he still has good stuff. Why not?
    Someones gotta stand up to Boras! I’m so sick of that guy!

  112. johnb said

    I could be wrong on the price, just read in a couple of places that that it could balloon to around 75 million including the posting fee. That is way too much, I hope he likes pinstripes!

  113. Slackman said

    Kei Igawa sounds like a good fit anyway. His velocity seems pretty good for the most part and it looks like he’s got a couple of plus pitches to go with it and he’s a lefty. The posting fee would be alot smaller and I hear that he is very aggressive on the mound. Thats the kind of presence and influence that would go well in the rotation and on the team.

  114. CMT said

    With us all speculating, what I’m assuming is that the price will be pretty reasonable, probably about equal price to any other TOR free agent pitcher.

  115. westfried said

    Ya know, I think I’m starting to come to terms with this. Despite the letdown, it is a defensible position – $75M for 3 years of an unknown is a big risk.

    And, to be honest, I actually prefer that the M’s are on the up-and-up, by annoucning that they will not bid, rather than making a token bid and crying poverty. At least this is honest.

    Now, as for bringing Hargrove back, that’s utterly stupid, assinine, and indefensible. There are 75 Million (or so) reasons to pass on Matsuzaka, but there is no sane explanation for keeping Grover.

  116. HoboChuck said

    Fuck this team

  117. Edman said

    Schmidt or DM? I’d be happy with either. I don’t know that we’ll get either of them, but it’s not like DM is the ONLY choice.

    I’m a little apprehensice about paying a guy that much money, plus have to pay another $20 million on top of it. That’s a lot for a guy who “projects” to be a #1 starter. Until he actually does it, he’s technically a prospect.

    Schmidt and Igawa……would it be that bad?

    Some people here just expected that Mr. Y was going to send a gift, off the books, like he has in the past. We’d get DM for free, and have the rest of the money to spend elsewhere. But, I guess it goes to show……never count those chickens.

  118. HoboChuck said

    I was expecting Mr. Y… to fork over that 20-25 million posting fee… I was expecting the M’s (american) to pay the rest of the 4 yr/60 million…

    Is that too much to ask for? We fill the stadium every year far more than we should for a crappy product.. the least this organization can do is spend some damn money when a superstar becomes available…

  119. Walrus said

    Signing Schmidt to more than 3 years is down right stupid, regardless of price. No way Schmidt pitches more than 250 innings for the rest of his career. He is on the down side of his career, meaning he is a flyball pitcher who is striking less and less people out, he has a bad back and coming to the American league will not help. Let the Mets sign him to 4 years….
    As for Igawa…sounds good to me.

  120. warner28 said

    Wow Walrus all of that sounds vaguely familiar too what the Mariners were saying about Randy Johnson 10 years ago.

    They were certianly right about him.

    Schmidt likely has 4 solid years in him, probably more.

  121. Nighthawk180 said

    Jason can you give anything on if the mariners are interested in Igawa at all? I’ve heard his name mentioned a couple of times but as far as interest from teams I dont know? Any insight would be helpful. Thanks

  122. Adam said

    Walrus = Voice of Reason

    Here are some relevant Schmidt numbers:


    2004 – 2.78
    2005 – 3.77
    2006 – 3.93


    2004 – 10.7
    2005 – 8.4
    2006 – 7.8


    2004 – 44.6
    2005 – 38.3
    2006 – 37.4

    Notice a trend?

    Schmidt is not the same pitcher as we was from 2001-2003. He’s regressing, and isn’t going to get better with a move to the AL.

    I’d be cool with a two-year deal with a club option for a third, but he does not deserve a Washburn-type deal (which is probably what Bavasi will give him).

    DM was the better choice, but unfortunately, we get the Shell Formerly Known as Jason Schmidt…

  123. C. Cheetah said

    I totally agree with Adam.
    2 years of Schmidt is fine, third option year fine, but any more than that would not be worth the risk, and as Walrus put it…”stupid”. But we are talking about Bavasi and the Mariners.
    If only we could get Schmidt to sign a deal like that.

  124. billy1 said

    Schmidt is a tough guy and a tough pitcher, take all of these silly-assed stats and throw them out. He would, (and hopefully will be ) an extremely valuable pitcher for 3 years forward. ERA, SO’s, Wins, never mean a thing to net rats trying to be the smartest guy in the room, but thankfully, they mean something to the dudes signing the checks. 12-16 win pitchers are not just “lucky” they do what it takes to win.

  125. How can any of you say Schmidt will be anything for three years?

    Back that up, Billy. Why?

    He’s declining, his numbers, the meaningful numbers, back that up – since 2003. There’s no doubt about it whatsoever.

    He’s aging, there is no debating that. He’s 34 in January.

    He’s prone to miss starts here and there with nagging knee and back injuries, though he has escaped spending a ton of time on the DL to this point, but his age and a relatively heavy workload, which is what any team signing him has to continue to expect, isn’t going to HELP him stay healthy enough to go 200+, particularly in year three and beyond of any contract he may sign.

    There is so little doubt in any of the above that it’s much harder to say good things about him because the risk factors weigh in so strongly.

  126. billy1 said

    The guy has the demeanor of a top-flight starter, he has the reputation, and he has the results. No, he is not Clemens, but yes, he is similar in style and approach. I can’t guarantee that he will be great in year 3 but you can’t guarantee that he won’t and saying that some Japanese pitcher is more of a sure bet is foolish. I know nothing more than watching him a little on the net, he looks like he has very good (not un-hittable) stuff. There also seems to be a wide, and high strike-zone over there. He has worked enough to be a 30+ year old, and we were all told that Sasaki threw 95mph when he came over. More like 88.
    I would happily pay Schmidt over 3 years at 33-36 to be the anchor while I let my up and coming ace learn some things about work ethic and how to throw (and establish) a fastball to speed the game up.

  127. None of what you just said says anything about why he would be successful in the AL, not get hurt for long stretches, actually earn his keep beyind year two of a contract and not be a total waste of time, money and energy for the Mariners in the end.

    Saying he has the demeanor of a top starter means jack. and even if we assume it’s true, it still means nothing. It doesn’t even begin to serve as evidence that Schmidt is even half likely to be more than league average over here.

    Fact: He’s declining
    Fact: He’s not young, 34 is a pretty dangerous age for…
    Fact: … a pitcher with more than just one injury that could blow at any moment.
    Fact: He’s never had success outside the NL where more than 10% of the lineup is a well below average bat and the strategies favor going for one or two runs, rather than the big inning.

  128. billy1 said

    And none of what you have said proves that Matsuzaka will be better than Irabu, or more with the hype-level, Contreras. I would much rather spend most of my sheckles on a proven winner, plus a “flyer- starter” (maybe even a Japanese one?) than risk my career on 3 years at 50, if lucky, for a guy that I have no real idea will be worth the money, ( if I’m Bavasi). I have no doubt that Schmidt is on the decline, but it will be slow, its his archetype, or so it seems.

  129. I never said jack about Irabu-Matsuzaka, so get off that or aim it somewhere else.

    But since you brought it up…

    Matsuzaka has MUCH better stuff than either Contreras or Irabu. That is unquestioned.

  130. There’s no arguing, successfully anyways, that DM will NOT post the same numbers over here. I have never said that he would, nor will I ever say it, unless he does it.

    Back to Schmidt…

    He’s a risk. I’d be comfortable in the first two years, or at least somewhat. He’s worth the risk if he isn’t getting 12 mil per and no longer than 3 years. If he gets hurt, thats part of the game and at least they only owe him thru ’09…

  131. Goose said

    “I let my up and coming ace learn some things about work ethic and how to throw (and establish) a fastball to speed the game up.”

    If anything I’d say “establish the fastball” crap that the Mariners keep pounding into him has been his problem and that he needs to go more towards his curve and changeup(and slider when they let him use it full time).

  132. marinerswinws said

    I would want Schmit, but like Jason says only for 2 years with a option for a 3rd.

  133. Billy… saying that breaking pitches dont work because of the break is ludicrous.

    If that was the case, nobody would throw a curve or slider, instead throwing change-ups to keep the hitter off the heater.

    With the rate of arms going under the knife, and many of them being due to the overusage of curves and sliders and such, the change would be the first last option for all pitchers — if you were right, which you are not.

    Ever seen a batter swing over the top of a curve ball but not necessarily be out in front? if you say yes, than I rest my case. if you say no, then you haven’t watched nearly enough baseball to have even made such a statement in the first place.

  134. Goose said

    Ah, woodworked, I thought that was you. You have one of the most recognizable tones on the net.

  135. Watch more baseball. A lot more.
    Then you can come back here and at least speak as if.
    Ask anyone in the game, they’ll tell you that hitters do miss the curve due to the break. It’;s preposterous for you to say otherwise.
    Now, take your attitude elsewhere.

    There is way too much good stuff to discuss without the unpleasantries from you.

  136. Goose said

    This young whippersnapper would just like to say that from his prior experience as a hitter(admittingly just at the high school level) that the most trouble I had with curveballs wasn’t the speed of the pitch and the fact that something faster may come, but uh because of the fact that the ball MOVED WHILE IN MID FREAKING AIR!

  137. That’s enough.

    Get back on topic.

  138. Goose said

    Alrighty then.

    Anybody think the bidding for DM is going to be considerably lower now that the Mariners are out of it?

  139. Billy, yer done here.

    Grow up.

  140. Edman said

    My prediction….DM is going to get INSANE numbers, particularly if the Yankees, Red Sox and Mets are involved. The three of them don’t seem to care if they over pay, as long as they can “one-up” the other.

    And of course, you have Tom Hicks, who’d certain outbid himself, to get him….LOL.

  141. Edman said

    And, regarding Schmidt and a 2 year deal……ain’t getting it done, so forget that idea. Someone, M’s or not, will give him a three year deal, likely with an option for a fourth year.

    Does it suck? Sure, but you don’t find deals at Nordstrom’s…..you pay the going rate, even if it’s silly.

    Personally, I’d rather take a chance on Schmidt. So what, if you risk a bat third season? It happens. By that time, Seattle will have other options. By that time, Felix will be the team’s ace. Right now, I want a gamer and I don’t care if he’s getting older.

    Might even be Zito. God knows, I’ve given up trying to figure it out……though, I did correctly predict that the M’s would sign Washburn. Everyone gets lucky in the prediction game.

  142. drm said


    Have you heard anything about the rumors of tampering with Matsuzaka? Are the M’s one of the teams that is being accused of tampering?

  143. baseballistic said

    Now that the M’s are out of the Matsuzaka bidding, or at least, seemingly out of it, why would they pursue Jason Schmidt instead of Barry Zito? Zito knows the division well and pitches well in it, so why try to AL-adjust a declining Schmidt who’s 1-2 years away from collapse?

    I can somewhat understand getting out of the Matsuzaka race because of the money, though not nearly completely, but why Schmidt over Zito?

  144. Matthew C said

    Because Zito will want 5years and an arkload of $$$. And he’s likely to be even less worth it than Schmidt.

    Mark my words, Barry Zito will be the worst signing of this offseason.

  145. Matthew C said

    Oh, and at this point, I would bet heavily that Daisuke’s bid+contract end up quite reasonable, something like 5Y/80-85M combined.

  146. Slackman said

    I can see why Jason Schmidt isn’t a good idea and the same goes for Barry Zito. Two words to describe him are: overpaid and overrated. Plus, he’ll be serving up gopher balls all over the place in no time. Assuming that they are not good options and that the M’s will not bid for DM, what are the M’s other options? The farm system is kind of thin right now. Does it look like the M’s could get something big done through the trade market? That’s my main question. I like adding Igawa and Kuroda from Japan but that might not be enough.

  147. Igawa MIGHT be a No. 3 at best, probably a four… An option yes, anough of an impact? Not even close.

    Igawa isn’t really a good idea.

  148. Matthew, it’s very understandable for the Mariners to believe DM is not worth 16 million per year.

    Not many player are, and even fewer pitchers even approach that sort of value.

    I actually applaud them for this, if needed they are doing it for the right reasons, though they have made the mistake of giving the wrong players money almost like this in the past. DM would be one of the risks they should have taken, but it is a big giant risk, and I doubt seriously that he becomes one of the top 5 or 6 pitchers in baseball over here, like 16 million per season (5 years-80+ mil) suggests he should.

    The value just isn’t there for them, apparently.

  149. Matthew C said

    Well, since in the past the post hasn’t counted against Payroll, they shouldn’t be looking at it like 16M per year. If you are running a business, you do have to invest capital in one-time expenses. Since the Mariners put away gobs of profit each year, and have expressed in the past that they keep a slush fund for this type of acquistion, then you are not paying him 16M per year going forward, you are using the money you earmarked from years past to win the bid, then paying whatever the contract is going forward, that being, 10-12M per. No doubt in my mind, Daisuke is worth 10-12M per.

    Furthermore, even if Daisuke isn’t worth 16M per, I don’t think it’s the right comparison to make. Baseball does not have perfect competition and the Ms cannot just make straight value comparisons because they cannot simply punt a resource like starting pitching just because the market is out of whack. The Ms don’t have resources in their farm to dip into so they’re stuck with trying to weasel out trades (tough given how SP is valued) or spend money. If you’re going to spend money, the proper method of looking at it would be your ROI and I would be shocked if any SP out there offers a higher ROI than Daisuke. I bet it’s not even close.

  150. Edman said

    So let me get this straight…..if DM wins, say, 16 games next seasons…..and, he gets a $16 million a year deal, that’s good ROI?

    What freakin’ business school did you attend? It’s great for fan appeal, but isn’t even CLOSE to a good ROI.

    Good ROI, is a guy you pay $2 million a year, and wins 20 games. If you want to play the fan game, fine. But please don’t try to tie it somehow to the financials.

    Fact is, DM isn’t a household name here, and isn’t nearly as celebrated as Ichiro was. So, his name isn’t gonna draw fans, by itself. It will take wins and time to establish that. Schmidt or Zito both carry drawing power the first time they step on the field.

    I wouldn’t at all mind having DM, but trying to convince me that a million dollars a win, is somehow good, isn’t very likely.

    Plus, there’s the unseen issue. If you outlay too many resources to DM, what is Felix going to be worth? I’d rather save that big payday for Felix. He’s younger and home grown.

  151. Matthew C said

    WTF are you talking about?

    1. I didn’t say it’s good ROI, is said it’s BETTER than the other FA pitchers will net you. Christ, that’s the whole f****** point.
    2. who tuses wins as a pitching metric?
    3. Show me a guy the Ms can sign for 2M who can be a 20-game winner and I’ll be all for it.
    4. again, who uses wins as a pitching metric?
    5. Nobody knew who Ichiro was when he got here in 2K1. Don’t kid yourself.
    6. But seriously, who uses wins to measure a pitcher? That’s retarded.
    7. Felix’s payday is 5 years down the road. And if he pitches to anywhere near his potential it’s going to be gigantic no matter what you do, so saving a few M now is going to mean squat when by then the going rate for an ace is 18-20M a year.

  152. Javier Herrera said

    I have seen the guy pitch. He has all of the makings of a beast. I’m personally a Dodger fan, and hope that the Dodgers have the brains to get a player of his quality. I have seen the guy pitch in Japan and in the states, he is an outright thug on the mound. The Dodgers wasted cash on Kaz Ishii, but he won his own fair share of games. This guy is a stud in waiting, and he will make any team happy with his pitching style. Japanese baseball players are good, fundimental players, and Daisuke Matsuzaka is from the same breed. He will be effective in the MLB, that is why his agent (Bor-ASS) is commanding top dollar.

    This dude is a stud with stuff.

  153. Javier Herrera said

    Also, J.D. Drew just opted out of his deal with the Dodgers, and they have more cash to throw around now. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Dodgers place a nice bid. But he’s going to Starbuck Country or will join the Evil Empire.

    The Yankees haven’t won a World Series this millenum, Lord knows how much money they are willing to spend to get one.


  154. Goose said

    I’d love to see the Dodgers(or any NL team for that matter) swoop in and steal DM from the Yankees.

    That being said though, the deadline to submit the bid was yesterday afternoon, to where Drew just opted out of his contract today. Now the Dodgers could of known about him doing so ahead of time in order to allocate some of the money towards DM, but if they didn’t then its irrelevant.

  155. 1996Coug said

    Red Sox win bid? 38-45 million?

    See ESPN headlines.

  156. MoneyTalks said

    And in late-breaking news, Seibu will be sending a pretend pony to Seattle, because that’s where the pony really wants to go…

    (Do you buy into that blind bidding now?)

  157. Goose said

    The Lions have accepted the Red Sox bid of…………..

    $51.1 Million.

    I’m now glad the Mariners dropped out. He’s not worth that much money. He’s not THAT good.

    He’s just not.

    That’s just crazy.

  158. Willmore said

    Now, assume a 4 year, 50 mil contract and it’s a 20 mil per year investment in Matsuzaka. Insane. Asinine. Mind-boggling.

  159. Willmore said

    Oops, I mean 25 mil per year. Same difference.

  160. […] Scouting Report: Daisuke Matsuzaka – RHP. Jason A. Churchill at Prospect Insider has spoken with a few big-league scouts to get their thoughts on Matsuzaka. Another excellent read. […]

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