Wednesday, September 13, 2006

The Mets scout Japan

David Lennon at Newsday writes about the Mets scouting a phenom of a pitcher in Japan:

The Mets deployed scout Russ Bove to Japan this week to watch Daisuke Matsuzaka, who will be aggressively pursued this November if the Seibu Lions decide to make their star righthander available through the posting process. Matsuzaka turns 26 today and a dozen major-league teams planned to have scouts at his start that night against Nippon Ham.

Matsuzaka is 15-4 with a 2.04 ERA in 22 starts this season for Seibu, including 12 complete games and 179 strikeouts in 163 1/3 innings. Asked yesterday about Matsuzaka, one scout who has seen him extensively gave this report: 89-95 mph fastball, with plus cutter, curve ball, slider, changeup and split-fingered fastball.

Matsuzaka won't be a free agent until after the 2008 season. But the Lions, hoping to make a big financial score, may be willing to post him, which basically means auctioning off his negotiating rights to the highest bidder. Some have suggested that it could cost as much as $30 million to satisfy Seibu, and then Matsuzaka won't exactly come cheap.

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