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Tuesday, December 12, 2006


My Thought on Matsuzaka Signing? Still 50-50 


時間快要到了,結果出來不是簽就是不簽,我們沒有辦法判斷事前的機率推測是否正確。這裡的機率推測也只是相當主觀的看法,不是一般我們在談數據分析時較為嚴謹的機率討論,例如 Pecota 這個預測系統。

隨著程序的進行,有一些先前普遍流傳的知識必須修正。首先是 Matsuzaka 明年結束並不自動成為 FA,因為他登錄天數並不足。現在有許多媒體的說法是他必須要到 2008 年結束才會成為 FA,這一部份我有一些質疑。要累積足夠登錄天數成為 FA,Matsuzaka 應該不需要等到 08 球季結束,球季中應該就可以辦到。我印象中看過一個說法是大概 2008 球季進行一兩個月就夠了。目前認為他需要等到 2008 才會成為 FA 的原因是西武還有在明年結束給他一年合約的權利,但是這一部份我保留。我們很少看到有球團只給球員幾個月的合約,所以自動假設他必須跟西武續約一年(如果在那之前他不來美國的話)。但是由於西武也沒有權利把他綁那麼久,那個 2008 合約恐怕大家還要上法庭討論討論,不是絕對的事情。

事情發展到這裡,看起來應該是 Red Sox 錯誤估計 Boras 的叫價和市場情況。在 Roy Oswalt 以 $73M/5Yr 續約後,ace 的價格就差不多建立了。當 FA 市場隨著一個個 FA 的高價簽約往上攀升,ace 的價格更從接近一年 $15M 往 $20M 逼近。Jason Schmidt 可以拿三年 $47M,Gil Meche 可以拿五年 $55M (Darren Dreifort money),Matsuzaka 值多少?不管 Red Sox 出多少 posting fee,他一毛錢也沒有拿到,所以跟他無關。日本職棒不是 MLB,打些折扣是應該的。但是以 Matsuzaka 的天賦,他在一個完全自由市場上要飆到 Schmidt 的價格是應該的,甚至還可以更往上看一些。Johan Santana 今天如果在市場上恐怕也要 $20M 一年,而且會有不少人願意給他四年以上合約。Red Sox 目前還價有一說是 $7-8M,這個數字太低,恐怕連應有價格對折都不到。另有一說是 $10M 左右,大概還是稍微低了點。

在 Boras 這邊他們開價是 $15M 左右,雖然已經有折扣,但是考慮他要一年甚至兩年以後才能成為 FA,應該還可以讓一點。今年的市場雖然很熱,但是有可能如 2000-01 一樣,好光景不會一直持續下去。如果兩方最後能找到共識,大概是兩邊都讓到 $12-13M 之間,三到四年,附有合約到期不續約必須把球員 release 掉的條款。如果是這個數字,兩邊的犧牲都不小。若是有一方不願意犧牲,那麼雙方就要空手而回。

不管是怎麼樣的結果,Matsuzaka 這一邊在金錢上都不見的會吃虧,所以他們有堅持的理由。以 Red Sox 目前開的價格來講,他等一年甚或兩年恐怕還有的賺,更何況 Boras 還會尋求其他法律途徑讓他儘早成為 FA。在 Red Sox 這邊,差別也就是明年少了一個 ace,在財務上面他們不簽這個合約比較健全。目前帳面上來看不管有沒有 Matsuzaka 都還不至於讓 Red Sox 追過 Yankees,既然他們今年票還是賣的很好,應該也沒有必要多花這麼多錢簽下 Matsuzaka。雙方都有不讓步的理由,所以兩邊都可以堅持下去,看看另外一邊會不會退。

反過來說,Matsuzaka 已經跟球迷說過再見了,東亞這幾個國家(台灣、日本、韓國、中國)的人不是不愛錢,不過社會環境還是不太接受大家說得太明白,所以因為錢的關係簽不下來對 Matsuzaka 不好看,尤其是最後關頭如果 Red Sox 又讓步了的話,那麼大部分的責難有可能會在 Matsuzaka 頭上。在 Red Sox 這一邊,他們也知道這種 ace 級的投手不好找,Pedro Martinez 和當年的 Curt Schilling 站在投手丘時的感覺就是不同,那是他們這幾年沒有的奢侈。Matsuzaka 有很大的可能就是那種等級的投手,等他上了 FA 市場時要簽下他來就不是那麼容易了。而且這跟高科技產品一樣,早買早享受,現在年輕時『功能』只會更好,不會跟一般的高科技產品一樣等的越久功能越多,多等一兩年他不會把 gyroball 控的隨心所欲的。

所以我判斷最後一天機會還是 50-50。

之前我說『合理的 posting fee』是在 $30M 上下,那不是預測,而是那樣的金額可以讓標到的球隊有足夠的動機和荷包完成這個合約而不至於等到截止日。Red Sox 超過那個數字太多,這一個月來的紛紛擾擾也就不意外了。如果雙方在最後一天達成協議,我們可以把十二月剩下來的月曆以及一月份及二月初的一次撕掉,專心的等投捕手報到而不用管中間發生什麼事情。如果他們沒有達成協議,也不要以為事情就結束了,Boras 一定會發出很多噪音,上法庭挑戰這個 posting system 大概是不可避免的事情。Red Sox 球迷當然比較期待前者,其他球隊的球迷大概還是看後者比較熱鬧。

Comments:
請問,紅襪若破局,不是可以由第二順位的競標球隊獲得交涉權嗎?
 
必須被判定 Red Sox 的競標不是 "in good faith" 才行。

以目前的情況來看,除非有違反規定的小辮子被抓到,以他們談判的情況來說很難做出這種認定,所以 Mets 並沒有太大的機會。
 
日本職棒取得FA權利不是單純的算天數,而是以一軍登錄145天算一年,累積9年之後才取得FA權利。取得之後要行使的話必須在Nippon Series結束之後7個工作日內向NPB Commissioner提出,第八天下午三點之後會正式公布行使FA權利的選手,之後才可正式與任何球團展開交涉。

所以即使Matsuzaka最後跟紅襪沒談成而留在日本,在2008年季中就取得FA權利,但是要自由的與任何球團交涉也得等到2008年Nippon Series結束後才可正式展開,在Commissioner正式公布之前他還是西武的人。
 
CCLU,

Well, the posting system is fairly unique in the sense that players from other countries usually join teams via the minor league system at a much younger age rather than coming over as established players.

If the Matsuzaka thing falls apart, I really feel that there would be more and more Japanese players who by passes the Japanese professional league alltogether and sign-on with minor league teams (ie. similar to Taiwanese players).

The official line in Japan has always been that, come play for a few yours in your home country, establish yourself, and when it's time for you to go, you can go 風風光光, and we won't stop you.

If the Lions REALLY make Matsuzaka stay for another TWO years, instead of one, then that "you can go when the time is right thing" can finally be exposed as BS....

Like, for the more marginal talent, staying in Japan is probably safer. However, when the NEXT Matsuzaka comes along, whoever that might be, he might as well just sign a minor league contract because he knows that he can probably make the majors eventually.

Take Care,

Wilson
 
BOSOX和Matsuzaka之間似乎已經只差體檢和正式簽約了...目前MLB.com的新聞是6年,52?60M...我以為Boras可以做得更好的...
以現在的市場行情,我覺得Matsuzaka被紅襪狠狠敲了一筆XD
 
Windlord

我同意你的看法。

Kudos to Epstein (or Lucchino?).
 
這合約應該會有個三年後脫逃條款 不然就太不Boras了 :p
 
In my opinion, it is a real bargain to sign the Japanese pearl at (51M + 52 M (or 60M)/6 < 20M per year !!! Let's conclude it next X'mas ! Before that, Red Sox is expected to eran tons of bucks by selling the related accessary. 6 years later, maybe 2M is just the average. Anyway, it is exciting news to both Bos and NYY.
 
I'm waiting to see the announcement of the deal and the details of the contract.

In my opinion, it's not just a bargain, it's a steal. If Matsuzaka is as good as we think he is, he's worth at least $18M a year in the FA market and can shoot for $20M or more.

Some Sox fans argue that he's not an FA, so he shouldn't get FA money. That's only half right. He can wait at most two years to negotiate his own contract with any MLB team, so he's virtually an FA two years later. No rookie can claim that if he was drafted in June.

Before Matsuzaka is set free by the Lions, he can earn about $3M or so a year, that's also not a rookie salary.

So if he returns to Japan and wait for two years to be an FA after 2008 season, his salary could be:

2007 $3M
2008 $3M
2009 $15M (a discount for no MLB exp.)
2010 $15M
2011 $15M
2012 $15M

Without considering NPV, this is $66M in total. Now Red Sox offers him $52M, it's another $14M discount after taking a discount from 2009 to 2012.

If there's no other tricky thing in the contract, Epstein really got Boras's numbers in this case. The Red Sox was robbed in the J.D. Drew case, now they got all their money back and more.
 
CCLU,

I think ppl are forgetting that there is a diminishing marginal utility for the extra money earned.

Matsuzaka is already almost trippling his pay, and the marginal benefit of squeezing out that few million is probably that that high. What he wants to do is just to come to the MLB and play...

Take Care,

Wilson
 
Matsuzaka Contract Details:

* Signing Bonus
$2 million
* Salaries
2007-- $6 million
2008-- $8 million
2009-- $8 million
2010-- $8 million
2011-- $10 million
2012 -- $10 million
* Escalators
2009 and 2010 salaries can increase to $10 million, and 2011 and 2012 salaries can increase to $12 million based finishing among top three in Cy Young Award voting and top five in MVP voting
* Award bonuses
For All-Star selection, All-Star starting pitcher, Gold Glove, league championship series MVP, World Series MVP, Cy Young (top three), MVP (top five), Rookie of the Year.
* No Trade Provision
If player gets his first day of major league service during a guaranteed contract of at least six years after a player has been with a professional baseball league team other than a major or minor league team, player cannot be traded without his consent.
* Perks
-- Eight round-trip first class tickets per year between Japan and Boston
-- Spring training housing allowance up to $25,000
-- Boston housing allowance of up to $75,000
-- One-time moving allowance of up to $35,000
-- Use of a Lincoln Town Car or similar car
-- Interpreter
-- Red Sox player ticket package, of which two seats will be field box
-- Team employee to assist Japanese media
-- Player cannot be sent to minor leagues
-- Player will receive uniform No. 18

Source: http://sports.yahoo.com/mlb/news?slug=ap-redsox-matsuzakacontract&prov=ap&type=lgns
 
To Starberry,

As an economist I am fully aware of the idea of diminishing marginal utility of income. However, there are a few things to consider:

1. It's not the personal utility a player worries about, it's the utility of the whole family. The player, player's wife, kids and maybe even kid's kids. Some of those family members might not exist at the time he signs a contract, so it's hard to judge the overall utility. The results? the more the merrier.

2. A lot of players don't have another skill outside of baseball. Even if they have college degree, they probably don't remember a thing after all those years in uniform. For example, Mike Mussina has a econ degree from Stanford, I honestly don't think he still remembers what he learned in econ 101, let alone the advanced courses. These players have to consider the years after their retirement, and that's long years comparing to people in other careers. Other than that, you just don't know how long a player can last. Greatness does not guarantee a long and wealthy career. Sandy Koufax can attest that. Players get hurt and weird things happen all the time. They would like to have a big contract to create the sense of security.

Matsuzaka's case might be slightly different because he has a clear opportunity cost in staying Japan through out his career. If that's what's on his mind, he can take a contract will much less value than one he deserves because the income discrepancy between two markets. Though this is not his true opportunity cost (the one in my earlier comment is), we can rationalize his decision this way.

All these being said, I'm more and more certain this is a steal. Theo Epstein pulled a great negotiation when people start to have second thoughts on his ability as a GM. It's indeed a nice job.
 
CCLU,

Hmmmm... I guess what I am trying to say is while Matsuzaka's true market value might have been around $100m/6y (so about 16 to 17 a yr), and the difference b/w that and the $52M is huge, ....$52M is still a nice chunk of change to retire on no matter how you cut it. You will still be able to live a life style far above the average household for the rest of your life. (Of course, providing that he doesnt' do something stupid like gambling it all away). Only 10% of American tax returns showed income greater than $100K in 2004.

I totoally understand that pitchers are fragile, and brilliant careers can burn out any time. This is actually precisly why I believed that he took "below marke value" money. By taking the guaranteed $52M as opposed to waiting one more year, risking injury, to get the extra $50M or so, to me it's just not worth it. Is there a difference b/w "affordable lifestyle" when comparing the two scenarios? Yeah, for sure. But that's like being able to afford Porche vs being able to get a McLaren, either way it's still a good life.

I guess in the end it comes down to how much is the marginal utility of the extra $50M or so over the 6 years. To me, it seems very low, almost zero in fact. If someone offered me a guaranteed $52M vs a wait 1 year and get $100/6Yrs, I would take the $52M everytime.

Take Care,

Wilson

P.S.: What do you think about the Sox pitching staff? Does this mean Papelbon stays a closer next yr?
 
I think the reason you did the wrong prediction is the same to the reason Boras did wrong. NPB players have different opinions when it comes to "challenge the big league" than all other players in US. They are simply willing to take less money. Money is not their primary concern. Money is even not than their top 5th concern. NPB is at a point where top stars may earn more than they're in MLB, if money is really that important to them, they need to do is just stay in their country, like what Cabrera did before.

It's never 50-50, 99% he will agree the deal. During the negotiation Matsuzaka has told media he didn't understand why his agent didn't just say yes.

Matsuzaka has to be playing in the big league in 2007, no one can stop him from that. So it's gone too far to believe he will wait any longer. Boras thought he could persuade Matsuzaka from that, you thought it's a 50-50 because you believed Matsuzaka can be persuded by those millions. NPB players don't really give a damn for such thing. They just want to play in the higher level. And in Matsuzaka's case, two more years in NPB may wore his arm down, that's 50-50 chance he won't play pro baseball anymore.

It's clever to agree Sox's contract now and accept the fact he signed bigger contract than what Ichiro did back in 2001. Listen to Scott Boras and wait for 2 more years? By that time he'll be stuck in DL forever. Red Sox really knows what's going on, they don't care what Boras says, when Matsuzaka himself joins the negotation, he will sign.

NPB doesn't provide pitcher protecting system, a $50M contract to get someone out of it can't be called "steal".
 
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