Buster Olney says...
If the Red Sox are, in fact, the highest bidders for the pitcher, they could steer Matsuzaka away from the Yankees and simultaneously feed into their own player development system.
The Red Sox could offer Matsuzaka and agent Scott Boras a take-it-or-leave or leave it deal of perhaps five years, $45 million, or close to the annual value of what they are paying their own young hard thrower, Josh Beckett.
If Boras and Matsuzaka balk at this and threaten to go back to Japan, the Red Sox could contact other teams and conduct a trade auction and deal the rights to negotiate with him.
Some baseball executives privately speculated on this kind of scenario Friday:
Say the Mets bid something in the range of $28 million for Matsuzaka, in their pursuit of a power pitcher. The Red Sox could ask the Mets for reliever Aaron Heilman and a prospect -- maybe Lastings Milledge, maybe a pitcher like Mike Pelfrey or Philip Humber, maybe a lesser player -- in return for Matsuzaka. And the Red Sox could also ask the Mets to forward something close to the posting fee they bid.
The Mets might say no; they might say yes. They need a power pitcher. For Heilman, a prospect and at least a large portion of Boston's posting fee, they could have Matsuzaka.
The Red Sox, on the other hand, could pay the difference in the posting fee and get someone like Heilman and more prospects in return. In the end, they would effectively be purchasing talent from other organizations, and at the same time, keep Matsuka away from the Yankees, at a time when he would be a perfect puzzle piece for the rival Bronx Bombers.
I'm torn on this one. It is certainly a very shrewd move if this was their plan. We know they want to put Papelbon in the rotation and we know they view Heilman as a closer. Would they essentially pay $10 million to have Aaron? Yes, if it means keeping Daisuke out of the Yankees hands as well, it is absolutely worth it considering how cheap their new closer would be. I would hope the Mets would not give up Milledge and Heilman. That is just dumb. However, if the cost was Heilman and a lesser prospect, it would have to be considered. Assuming of course that Heilman only gets dealt if they actually sign Daisuke which would obviously be a caveat to any proposed deal.