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Home » 2006 NewsNovember 2006 » Nicked Up

Nicked Up

How many times was Nick Carfardo wrong in this article on Daisuke Matsuzaka?

There’s some confusion on whether the Sox could trade Matsuzaka’s rights, but there is precedent. In 1997, the Padres purchased the contract of Hideki Irabu from the Chiba Lotte Marines, but the pitcher refused to sign and said he would only play for the Yankees.

The posting system for the rights to negotiate with Matsuzaka was created because of Hideo Nomo’s 1995 “retirement” from Nippon Professional Baseball and subsequent signing with the Los Angeles Dodgers as well as Irabu’s departure from NPB. Irabu’s situation was completely different from Matsuzaka’s because that deal came before the posting system was inaugurated.

Prior to this system, NPB clubs would not receive compensation for players leaving to play in MLB. Any team signing Matsuzaka will not assume the same terms of his agreement with the Seibu Lions, which is presumably what happened when the Padres bought Irabu’s contract. Furthermore, the negotiation rights are not assignable, as paragraph 11 of the Player Contract Agreement between NPB and MLB states (downloaded from the website of the Japan Professional Baseball Players Association), although a sign and trade is possible but unlikely. If John W. Henry paid $38 to 45M, why would he forgo the advertising revenue from Japanese companies that would defray the cost of the bid?

The Sox would have to work overtime to help Matsuzaka assimilate into the new culture. Korean submariner Byung Hyun Kim never felt comfortable in Boston, nor did Korean first baseman Hee-Seop Choi, who played in Pawtucket before being given his release.

Why do the media always harp on how much more difficult for it would be for East Asians to assimilate in the clubhouse? Is it because we’re so utterly inscrutable?

There is also the typical conflation of Japanese and Korean people, who, if you hadn’t heard, don’t appreciate being confused for one another as the former invaded the latter. Also, it would be awfully hard for Choi to have felt uncomfortable in the Hub, as he did not have a plate appearance as a Red Sox player.

Cafardo was correct in his summary of Nomo’s achievements during his time with Boston, however. In my opinion, he is also right that acquiring Matsuzaka would be a coup for Boston.

Michael Pugh has not yet updated the banner to his excellent site, Matsuzaka Watch. He is no doubt awaiting official confirmation on November 14. As we all are.

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