The Yankees bid an enormous amount of money today (up to $20 million per Bob Klapisch), simply for the right to negotiate with Matsuzaka. Good lord. I don’t like this posting process at all; the expectations are going to be so enormous that there's going to be a massive letdown if he isn't Cy Young good, and quickly. Based on his career numbers, that might be a safe assumption -- if it were easy to predict how Japanese stats transition to the Major Leagues. But talk to Kaz Matsui about that. Baseball is unpredictable enough under more controlled circumstances, as the Yankees' last five or six years of pitching acquisitions demonstrate nicely. Aaron Small? 10-0. Carl Pavano? Insert joke here.
On a tangentially related note, in a story that achieved surprisingly little media attention, the Major League All-Stars swept Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball in five games. The US roster included David Wright and Jose Reyes, Ryan Howard, John Maine, Mike Myers, Joe Nathan, Bronson Arroyo, Scott Shields, Chase Utley, Lyle Overbay, Joe Mauer and Jermaine Dye. I actually would have like to watch those games (though not quite enough to buy MLB.TV’s off-season package), but I realize I’m probably in a minority there.
They only have a few short clips online for free–-but, for the brave of heart, Bronson Arroyo has a video diary of the event on mlb.com. Who the hell thought this was going to be a good idea? He charmingly refers to the “midget beds” in the hotel room and staggers through a truly painful rendition of “Wonderwall” on Japan MTV. Less masochistic fans might just enjoy the pictures of Reyes looking like he just got a new puppy for Christmas (following his game 5 walk-off homer), a nice little pick-me-up for the dark winter days ahead. Also, the team got 140,000,000 Yen in prize money for their win. I could easily find out what this comes out to in U.S. dollars, but I kind of enjoy not knowing whether it's $93.00 or half a billion.
Gary Sheffield… oh, you know, the usual.
And I’m late on this, but the Mets’ Guillermo Mota tested positive for steroids last week. Credit Mota for apologizing straight-up and not trying to pass it off on some teammate’s mystery pills or a faulty test, but it’s a sad day when you find yourself admiring players for admitting to their steroid use. Sluggers get all the attention, but second-tier players and middle relievers were using too, and still are; we'll probably never know what the impact of all this has been. And so I am going to continue to try to think about it as little as possible.
And in other dismaying news, the A's are moving to Fremont. Where? Exactly. It’s hard to believe such a successful and entertaining team can’t find enough fans. My longtime fantasy is for a team to move to Brooklyn... which I realize will never, ever happen, but come on: Fremont? Why, what was wrong with Piscataway?