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Cubs Bid for Matsuzaka

By Benjy Lipsman in News on Nov 9, 2006 4:00PM

2006_11_sports_cubs_matsuzaka.jpgWhile they say you can get "IT" on eBay, unfortunately for the Cubs, that doesn't include starting pitching. However, that doesn't mean they aren't bidding for some arms this off-season.

The Cubs are believed to be one of the teams who have submitted a bid on Japanese right-handed pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka, a 26-year-old star for the Seibu Lions.

Many believe that his talent can translate into a front-line starter in the Majors. In his eight seasons in Japan, he has a 108-60 with a 2.95 ERA in 8 (140-game) seasons — in part due to his famous gyroball. In comparison, the Cubs' Kerry Wood has gone 71-56 with a 3.68 ERA while missing significant portions of 4 seasons.

With Kerry Wood filing for free agency, and likely relegated to the bullpen were he to return to the North Side, the Cubs would hope that Matsuzaka could offer a stable complement to Carlos Zambrano in the rotation.

Matsuzaka certainly won't come cheap to the Cubs. Teams interested in his service had until 5:00 p.m. EST on Wednesday to submit their blind bid to the Commissioner's office. This fee to the Seibu Lions simply for the rights to Matsuzaka might cost the winning bidder up to $20 million. Once a bid is accepted by the Lions, the MLB team will then have 30 days to negotiate a deal with the pitcher and his agent — the notorious Scott Boras. Expect at least $10 million a year for 3 or more years.

So is Matsuzaka worth upwards of $50 million? For teams desperate for pitching -- and the Cubs certainly fall into that camp -- he just may be. Otherwise, they could always overpay for Jason Schmidt, Barry Zito or Mike Musina.