The Boston Red Sox have acquired exclusive negotiating rights for Japanese pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka. The fee for these rights is still undisclosed, but is rumored to be in the neighborhood of between $42 million and $50 million. The fee will not be paid if the Red Sox and Matsuzaka fail to come to a deal. Any deal for him would probably be around 4 years and $50 million.
Is this wise?
Spending $100 million on an individual player is a lot, but this player is different. Not only is he a young potential Ace pitcher, he adds marketability to the Red Sox in Japan. The $50 million negotiating fee could easily be paid for and then some within a few years if the Sox are able to expand their brand sufficiently in Japan.
There is some speculation that this is a ploy by the Red Sox, bidding a massive amount of money in order to prevent other teams from signing Matsuzaka. This is highly doubtful. However, I'm sure part of the Red Sox thought process included the fact that if a deal cannot be struck with the pitcher, the $50 million fee is waived and nobody else will get Matsuzaka for at least a year.
By posting the winning bid, the Sox will also placate millions of disappointed fans who were upset at the Red Sox for collapsing last season. Players stopped playing, some seemed to stop trying, and the team made no deals at the deadline. Spending $50 million to talk with Matsuzaka and agent Scott Boras will alleviate fan's concerns that the team isn't trying hard enough to win.