Week 15 Picks
Last Week: 4-2-0
THEO AND THE SOX ROLL THE DAIS FOR 6 YEARS, $103 MILLION
It may have taken all 30 days to do it, but on Thursday the Boston Red Sox made it official. Japanese "National Treasure" Daisuke Matsuzaka finally signed with the Sox, agreeing to a 6 year deal worth $52 million plus performance incentives that could push the value over $60 million. So, after you add in the record $51 million the Sox paid just to talk to Daisuke, essentially they will be spending $17.2 mil a year for this guy over the life of his contract. While that is an ass load of money to be giving to a guy that's never thrown a pitch in the Major Leagues, I'm going on the record to say that I am 100% in favor of the deal. Of course I would have liked to have paid less, but in a market where Vicente Padilla, Gil Meche and Ted Lilly are all getting $10+ mil a year, I am willing to take my chances spending $17+ a season on a guy that, by all accounts, has the stuff to be a front line pitcher for years to come. Besides, not only was the record posting the only way the Sox could get the Dais Man, but the $17 mil a season is probably about the same that Barry Zito (the top free agent pitcher) will fetch on the open market. So, again, I like this move. We prevent the Yankees from getting the next big foreign sensation (something they couldn't do in the cases of Hideki Irabu or Jose Contreras, for better or worse), and we add depth and youth to a position where you can never have enough of either, starting pitching. Besides, what did we have to do to get him? Spend a little cash-ish? But now that he is signed, I have a few issues I'd like to address about the man. Now, I don't claim to know anything about the Japanese. I respect their culture, I love their video games and I love watching them gamble in casinos, but I don't understand their obsessions with raw fish, Kung-Fu or Dance Dance Revolution. Oh and for the record I thought Lost in Translation sucked. But more to my point. I need two questions answered to put my mind at ease over the best import to fly into Massachusetts since since George Jung was a free man. 1) If this guy is such a "National Treasure", then why couldn't they get him a decent interpreter? I refuse to believe that after Matsuzaka took 5 minutes to answer a question that his response was "I'm looking forward to playing for the Boston Red Sox". No freaking way. I mean I'm not claiming that the interpreter was hiding stuff from us, I'm just saying this guy sucked at his job. It also didn't help when he was upstaged by a young female Japanese reporter who several times corrected him and seemed to fluently switch between English and Japanese. And 2) How do we know how smart this guy is? This is the one that really bothers me. I mean, what if his answer to "Did you do any research about the Red Sox before coming here?" actually was "I'm looking forward to playing for the Boston Red Sox." For all we know, this guy could be a complete idiot, a Shawn Kemp if you will. I'm, not saying it takes a genius to pitch, but I think we'd all feel a lot better knowing that the guy we just tossed $60 mil at knows how to form complete and coherent sentences, no matter what language he's trying to speak. Hopefully, unlike many of the Asian and Central American stars that have come over here, Daisuke will make a solid attempt to learn English. That's a move that will not only increase his appeal here in the states, but will probably make it easier for him to adjust to life in a country where we like our fish deep fried in butter and our Bill Murray movies with either a stuffed rodent, sky-scraper sized marshmallow man or "baby steps". Whether either of my questions will ever be answered, I don't know. What I do know, is I'm thrilled the front office got this deal done, and I can't wait to watch this guy pitch. Even if the "Gyro-Ball" was just a myth. So, we raise our Saki glasses to you Daisuke and say "Konichiwa". We don't know what that means, but we love to drink, and we love baseball. As long as the latter doesn't drive us to do the former...