Sources: Red Sox bid high of $42M for Matsuzaka

The Red Sox bid $42 million for the right to negotiate with prized Japanese pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka, sources told ESPN's Peter Gammons. Boston's bid far exceeded any other team's offer.

Matsuzaka will
learn Tuesday whether the Seibu Lions have accepted a bid for him
by a major league team.

Major League Baseball and the Japanese commissioner's office
will make simultaneous announcements at 8 p.m. ET Tuesday (10 a.m.
Tokyo time Wednesday), MLB spokesman Pat Courtney said Monday at
the big league general managers' meetings.

The amount of the highest bid was forwarded by the major league
commissioner's office to the Japanese commissioner's office last
Wednesday, and the Lions have until Tuesday to accept. Only if the
offer is accepted will the identity of the winning team be

Matsuzaka, a right-hander who pitched for Japan's World Baseball Classic champions, is considered among the top prospects available this offseason.

If the Lions accept the top bid, the winning bidder has 30 days to reach an agreement with Matsuzaka. If a deal cannot be reached, he would return to the Lions for the 2007 Japanese baseball season and the bid will not be paid.

There are three reasons the deal would make sense for the Red Sox:

• Talent evaluators who have seen Matsuzaka say he's a top of the rotation-quality pitcher who would improve the Red Sox staff.

• If Boston signs him it would effectively plant a Red Sox flag in the growing Far East market.

• By merely winning the bidding the Red Sox would block the Yankees from acquiring Matsuzaka. By signing him, they would gain the same kind of advantage the Yankees gained when they signed Johnny Damon away from Boston.

Some have speculated that the Boston bid is to block the Yankees, but sources told Gammons that is absolutety false. Boston badly wants the pitcher, the marketing revenues from the Japanese market and an entrance in the door of the future of Asian baseball.

Information from The Associated Press and ESPN The Magazine's Buster Olney was used in this report.