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Red Sox make offer to Matsuzaka

TOKYO (AP) - The Red Sox have made an offer to pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka that Boston president Larry Lucchino describes as "fair" and "comprehensive."

Lucchino, in Tokyo on Tuesday after meeting with representatives of Matsuzaka's Seibu Lions, said the Red Sox have taken the next step toward signing the Japanese star.

"We have sent a formal offer to Matsuzaka and his agent Scott Boras," Lucchino said. "I believe it is fair and comprehensive, and offers a great deal of security and a substantial level of compensation."

Boston bid $51.1 million for the right to negotiate with Matsuzaka, who was the MVP of last spring's World Baseball Classic. The team has until the end of Dec. 14 to sign him.

In his meetings with Seibu officials, Lucchino said he discussed the possibility of the Red Sox and the Lions forming a long-term "working relationship."

Such a relationship could help facilitate a deal if contract talks stall. Media reports have said the sides are far apart in early negotiations.

If the Red Sox don't sign Matsuzaka, his rights returns to the Lions. To avoid that, Seibu could reduce the bid to help the sides reach a deal.

Lucchino brushed aside suggestions that the bid was made just to block the New York Yankees from signing Matsuzaka.

"I assure you that the notion that this is a primarily defensive maneuver is preposterous," Lucchino said, adding that 51.1 million is "obviously a historical number but we are talking about a national living treasure and an exceptional baseball player."

Lucchino sounded confident that a deal will be reached.

"We know it's been his dream to play in the major leagues and we are proud that he will live out his dream in Boston with the Boston Red Sox," Lucchino said.

Drew closer to Red Sox deal

BOSTON (AP) - The Boston Red Sox are making progress toward signing free agent J.D. Drew, a move that could give them enough outfield options to be in a better position to trade Manny Ramirez.

The Red Sox and Drew are getting closer to a contract agreement, a person familiar with the negotiations said Monday, speaking on condition of anonymity because talks were ongoing.

The team has been exploring deals for Ramirez, who has two years left on his eight-year contract and has asked to be traded several times. He can decline any trade because he's been in the majors for 10 years and with the same team for five.

Ramirez's agent, Greg Genske, did not return a telephone call or an e-mail seeking comment Monday. Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein did not respond to an e-mail.

Baseball's winter meetings are scheduled next week from Monday through Thursday in Florida.

Drew opted out of the last three years of his five-year contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers on Nov. 9 and became a free agent. He played 135 games as their right fielder this year and hit .283 with 20 homers and a team-high 100 RBIs.

Trot Nixon, Boston's right fielder, is a free agent. Wily Mo Pena, who played the position when Nixon was hurt last season, had trouble fielding there and seems better suited to Fenway Park's smaller left field, where Ramirez has been the regular.

If the 31-year-old Drew joins the Red Sox and Ramirez leaves, they could open next season with Pena in left, Coco Crisp in center and Drew in right.

Ramirez, 34, has hit .316 with 234 homers and 712 RBIs in six seasons with Boston and has served as protection in the cleanup spot for No. 3 hitter David Ortiz. But Ramirez has a quirky personality and was absent from the lineup late in the season with tendinitis in his right knee.

He started only nine games in the last six weeks and his 130 games were the third-fewest in his last 12 seasons. Still he finished with 35 homers, 102 RBIs and a .321 batting average.

When Ramirez reported for spring training last March 1, Genske said the slugger had "kept an open mind" about where he wants to play.

After the 2003 season, the Red Sox placed Ramirez on waivers in an effort to relieve themselves of his expensive contract. In 2005, Ramirez sat out the last two games before the July 31 trade deadline while the team explored possible deals. The Red Sox held trade discussions about him before last season.

Ramirez is due $18 million next season and $20 million in 2008. That price might no longer keep a team from trading for him now that other outfielders have signed big-money deals - Carlos Lee with Houston for $100 million over six years and Alfonso Soriano with the Chicago Cubs for $136 million over eight years.

Ramirez's deal contains $20 million club options for 2009 and 2010.
Red Sox, Dodgers talking about Ramirez

Ken Rosenthal / FOXSports.com
Posted: 10 hours ago

ORLANDO, Fla. - Notes from the eve of the winter meetings:

The Red Sox and Dodgers were scheduled to meet at midnight Eastern on Sunday to talk about Red Sox outfielder Manny Ramirez, according to a major league source.
The timing of the discussion made sense; by convening at the outset of the winter meetings, the Dodgers figured to get an early gauge on whether a Ramirez trade would be feasible.

If not, the team could move on to other pursuits — specifically, free-agent right-hander Jason Schmidt, who would not fit into the Dodgers' budget if they added Ramirez.

The Red Sox almost certainly would want right-hander Jonathan Broxton, a future closer, in a Ramirez package. The Dodgers, however, value Broxton for his late-inning potential.

Dodgers right-hander Brad Penny also figured to be discussed; he had a 6.25 ERA after the All-Star break last season, but pitched for the Marlins when Sox owner John Henry owned that club.

A package of Penny, third baseman Andy LaRoche and first baseman James Loney might entice the Red Sox. Penny, 28, is signed for $7.5 million next season and $8.5 million in 2008, with an $8.75 million club option for '09.

The Dodgers, however, might not want to part with top prospects if they're required to take on Ramirez's $20 million club options in both 2009 and '10, which would be the likely price for persuading him to waive his no-trade clause.
Red Sox, free-agent SS Lugo agree to deal

Ken Rosenthal / FOXSports.com
Posted: 11 hours ago

The Red Sox, stalled in their efforts to trade left fielder Manny Ramirez, have made their second major off-season acquisition, reaching preliminary agreement with free-agent shortstop Julio Lugo on a four-year, $36 million contract.

Earlier Tuesday, the Sox announced the signing of outfielder J.D. Drew to a five-year, $70 million deal. If they keep Ramirez, their offense again should be one of the most potent in the American League.
Lugo, 31, will replace Alex Gonzalez as the Red Sox's shortstop. The move will enable him to remain at his natural position and return to the AL. The Cubs had pursued Lugo to play center field, and the Mets had considered him at second base.

While Lugo is not as strong a defender as Gonzalez, he will help increase the Sox's athleticism. He will be a candidate to hit leadoff, and should combine with Drew and holdover center fielder Coco Crisp, to give the Sox significantly more speed.

Lugo batted a combined .278 with 12 homers and 37 RBIs for the Devil Rays and Dodgers last season. He struggled after getting traded to the Dodgers, batting only .219 as a part-time player.

The Red Sox had a busy day: They also reached a preliminary agreement on a $70 million, five-year contract with outfielder J.D. Drew.

Boston has been filling in gaps at shortstop since dealing Nomar Garciaparra at the 2004 trading deadline. The Red Sox went on to win the World Series with Orlando Cabrera that year, but let him go as a free agent in the offseason and gave Edgar Renteria a four-year, $40 million contract.

After just one year in which he made 30 errors, the Red Sox paid Atlanta $11 million to take Renteria off their hands. Boston signed Alex Gonzalez to a one-year deal for $3 million, then let him go to free agency in the offseason after he provided them with stellar defense but hit just .255.

"I will tell you what, we saw a year of defense like I don't know you'll ever see again, maybe even from him," manager Terry Francona said. "You saw a spectacular shortstop have a spectacular year. That was fun to watch."

The Red Sox are hoping prospect Dustin Pedroia could play second base; if not, they have Alex Cora.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Report: Matsuzaka, Red Sox reach deal

Associated Press
Posted: 6 minutes ago

BOSTON (AP) - Daisuke Matsuzaka headed to Boston on Wednesday with Red Sox officials, a sign the team had reached a preliminary agreement with the star pitcher.

"They all took off together," Red Sox owner John Henry said in an e-mail to The Associated Press.

Team president Larry Lucchino said shortly after noon EST that the plane was leaving California.

"You should assume a deal is close or done," an official with knowledge of the negotiations said, speaking on condition of anonymity because no announcement had been made.

And according to SI.com, a deal is in fact done. The website is reporting that Matsuzaka will receive a six-year, $52 million deal that could climb as high as $60 million.

In prior days, agent Scott Boras had said he would not allow Matsuzaka to travel to Boston for a physical unless the sides had reached a preliminary agreement.

Boston officials traveled to Newport Beach, Calif., on Monday on Henry's plane and said they would return Wednesday with or without Matsuzaka. The team and Matsuzaka have a midnight Thursday EST deadline to reach an agreement.

The Red Sox called a news conference for Wednesday afternoon to introduce shortstop Julio Lugo, who agreed to a $36 million, four-year deal last week. With the top Red Sox brass still en route, manager Terry Francona and assistant general manager Jed Hoyer were to attend that event.

Boston bid $51.1 million last month for the right to negotiate with Matsuzaka. The Red Sox will pay that money to his Japanese team, the Seibu Lions, only if an agreement is reached.

If there is no deal, Matsuzaka's rights remain with the Lions and he cannot be offered to major league teams again until next November. He is not eligible to become a free agent in Japan until after the 2008 season,

Lucchino and general manager Theo Epstein showed up unannounced in California on Monday for face-to-face talks with Matsuzaka's agent, Scott Boras.

Red Sox officials left the building where Boras' offices are located shortly before 7 p.m. EST Tuesday, returned about four hours later and stayed for 40 minutes before leaving again.

The Red Sox had said they would present their second offer at the meeting. The large amount bid by the Red Sox for Matsuzaka's rights complicated negotiations. Boras said it shouldn't cause the team to decrease the salary he thinks his client deserves.

"Free agent pitchers who are 26 and have Matsuzaka-like ability receive salaries in excess of $100 million over five or six years in free agency," Boras said at a news conference Monday night.

Epstein agreed Matsuzaka is worth $100 million, but his calculations include the posting fee.

"That magnitude is certainly the right ballpark for the commitment of the ballclub," Epstein said

Matsuzaka has a 108-60 career record in Japan with a 2.95 ERA and 1,355 strikeouts in 204 games. He was MVP of the inaugural World Baseball Classic last March, won by Japan.

Late Monday, Henry had sounded miffed about Boras' approach.

"We're on Scott Boras' doorstep because he hasn't negotiated with us thus far and we're taking the fight directly to him, the fight to have a negotiation here," he said during a conference call.
Red Sox, Matsuzaka set six-year deal
Pact worth $52 million reportedly to be announced Thursday

By Ian Browne / MLB.com

BOSTON -- After a topsy-turvy month of negotiations, the Red Sox -- according to multiple media reports -- have at last landed Japanese pitching sensation Daisuke Matsuzaka, completing the most heralded international signing in team history.
According to the Boston Herald, all that remains before the deal is official is approval from Major League Baseball. Once that takes place, the Red Sox will formally announce the signing of Matsuzaka to a six-year contract worth $52 million, not to mention escalator clauses which could reportedly bring the deal to $60 million. According to The Associated Press, that announcement will take place Thursday at 5 p.m. ET.

The Red Sox won exclusive negotiating rights to Matsuzaka when their record bid of $51.1 million was accepted by the Seibu Lions on Nov. 14.

Though the Red Sox had no comment late Wednesday night, agent Scott Boras told ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick that the contract terms were all agreed upon, and that Matsuzaka passed his physical at Massachusetts General Hospital.

"We finalized the deal when he arrived in Boston," Boras told ESPN.com. "We came out of it with what I felt was the right decision for the player."

That was a capper to a wild day that spanned 3,000 miles before the Red Sox finally closed the deal with Matsuzaka.

Boston's pursuit of Matsuzaka hit a peak on Wednesday, when Matsuzaka boarded a private plane owned by Red Sox owner John W. Henry and flew from Southern California to Bedford, Mass., landing at roughly 5:20 p.m. ET.

The sides continued to negotiate -- as assistant general manager Jed Hoyer put it -- from 35,000 feet above ground, and, according to Boras, closed the deal with Sox general manager Theo Epstein shortly after arriving.

The last significant hurdle was the physical, which was completed more than 24 hours before the midnight deadline at the end of Thursday, at which time Boston's negotiating rights to the pitcher would have ended.

Matsuzaka traveled coast-to-coast with Boras, Epstein and Sox president/CEO Larry Lucchino.

This, after Epstein and Lucchino had made a surprise -- and unsolicited -- visit to California on Monday to get a deal done with Boras and Matsuzaka. Tuesday was a pivotal day, as the sides had numerous negotiating sessions, and were believed to have stayed up for most of the night.

It was quite a scene at the Hanscom Air Force Base in Bedford, where Matsuzaka touched down in Massachusetts for the first time. There were roughly 50 Red Sox fans on hand to greet Matsuzaka as he disembarked. The pitcher went straight for the back seat of an SUV, which was escorted by a state police car.

With a wide smile, Matsuzaka gave several friendly waves to the fans who hope to be cheering his every pitch at Fenway in 2007 and beyond.

There was a large media gathering there for the landing of the plane, but there were no interviews before the entourage gathered into the car.

Upon arriving in California on Monday, Epstein promised that the Red Sox contingent would be headed back to Boston via Henry's plane on Wednesday, and the goal was that Matsuzaka and Boras would be on board.

Mission accomplished, but not without some anxious moments.

Earlier this week, Epstein, Lucchino and Henry all seemed frustrated at the pace of the negotiations and the fact that they had to make a second offer before Boras countered the first offer.

But deadline deals are nothing new for Boras, who has taken place in as many drama-filled negotiations as any agent in sports.

Matsuzaka, 26, is widely revered by baseball fans of Japan, and for good reason. He has a record of 108-60 with a 2.95 ERA over his eight-year career with the Lions, and last March, he was named the Most Valuable Player of the inaugural World Baseball Classic.

"In Japan, he's known as the national treasure," Boras said earlier this week. "Here, he will be known as Fort Knox."

The Red Sox, health permitting, could wind with one of the best rotations in baseball, anchored by Curt Schilling and Matsuzaka, and filled out by Josh Beckett, Jonathan Papelbon and Tim Wakefield.


Freestyle and DDR Junkie
Freestyle Nation
Thanks for updating the thread, Manny. "Dice" will bring a new face to the rotation, and if he pitches as good as he has in the Japanese Pacific League and the World Baseball Classic, he's going to be dangerous.

"Godzilla" Matsui vs. "Dice" Matsuzaka anyone?
shadowman said:
Thanks for updating the thread, Manny. "Dice" will bring a new face to the rotation, and if he pitches as good as he has in the Japanese Pacific League and the World Baseball Classic, he's going to be dangerous.

"Godzilla" Matsui vs. "Dice" Matsuzaka anyone?
No problem.
wow you Sox fans are quick with the nicknames lol
Yeah Sui vs Dice (lol) should be interesting, you know the international media is gonna have a field day with that everytime they face each other


Freestyle and DDR Junkie
Freestyle Nation

*Using the voice of "The Rock"*

I have to take my hats off to the entire Cleveland Indiands team who gave the Red Sox (and their fans like me) a run for the money.

Now, bring the RED HOR ROCKIES!!!


Freestyle and DDR Junkie
Freestyle Nation
Thanks, my fellow baseball fans. I know It's been a rough end for both Feisty and Rafa because of their teams causing heartbreak at the end.


Captain Casual
Staff member
Freestyle.FM Dee Jays
umm, of course you are. But I was speaking from a sports fan's perspective ;)


Ummm?? Are you just pacifying me...?


New Member
I knew boston was going to come back from behind, now the rockies, but watch out boston, the rockies beat boston at their home field3 out of 4 games...so it should be good..