December 15, 2006 [LINK / comment]

Matsuzaka signs with Red Sox

So it turns out the Red Sox really were serious about Daisuke Matsuzaka after all! They finally reached terms with the pitching phenomenon, and the six-year contract he signed will be worth at least $50 million, plus possible bonuses of up to $10 million. In his eight years pitching for the Seibu Lions, he had a 108-60 record and a 2.95 ERA. He was the MVP of the inaugural World Baseball Classic last March. See The Seibu Lions received $51 million from the Red Sox up front, meaning the total cost was $100 million or so. Is he really that good? Washington Post columnist Thomas Boswell notes that Matsuzaka will earn less than such "mediocre" pitchers as Gil Meche, Ted Lilly, or Vicente Padilla, and he puts the blame on the Japanese franchises for "international robbery, baseball style." Well that's putting it a little strongly. So will Matsuzaka be an instant success like Ichiro Suzuki, or will he take time to achieve major league excellence, as with Hideki Matsui? I have a feeling he will be more than a match for Andy Pettitte, should those two guys start against each other in one of next year's Yankees-Red Sox showdowns.

Nats trade Vidro to Seattle

This is sad news, but it's not terribly surprising. The Nationals have agreed to trade veteran second baseman Jose Vidro to Seattle, where he will (presumably) play as a designated hitter in most games. In return, Washington gets outfielder Chris Snelling and right-handed pitcher Emiliano Fruto. The deal is contingent upon a medical exam, however, and Vidro couldn't make the doctor's appointment today because the airliner had engine problems. So, he'll still be a National through this weekend, at least. Seattle will absorb $12 million of the $16 million on the two years left on Vidro's contract. See I hope the Nationals use that extra cash wisely. The upshot is that Felipe Lopez will probably take Vidro's place at second base, giving the shortstop position back to Cristian Guzman, who was a big disappointment in 2005 and was injured all this year. That leaves just six Nationals players who used to be with the Montreal Expos: Chad Cordero, John Patterson, Luis Ayala, Jon Rauch, Brian Schneider, and Ryan Church.

The mail bag

Paul Thompson called attention to a feature of Exhibition Stadium that I neglected to mention: the private suites on top of the football grandstand beyond left field. He also questions some of the details on that diagram. He also provided me some tips on Montreal's Olympic Stadium, which is being revised as well... He participates in a blog called Mop Up Duty.