Japanese pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka and the Boston Red Sox are near agreement, according to a source familiar with the month-long standoff who Wednesday morning described the negotiations as “close but not done.”
The characterization indicates significant progress over the past 24 hours between the Red Sox, who Nov. 14 earned exclusive negotiating rights to the 26-year-old Matsuzaka with a record posting bid of $51.1 million, and agent Scott Boras.
Red Sox executives Larry Lucchino and Theo Epstein arrived uninvited at Boras' Newport Beach, Calif., offices on Monday and intended to return to Boston on Wednesday. Team chairman Tom Werner, who lives in Los Angeles, joined the negotiations as well.
Red Sox owner John Henry told the Associated Press that the Red Sox delegation left Los Angeles with Matsuzaka on Wednesday, another sign the sides had reached an agreement in principle, leaving only a physical examination. Boras was believed to be seeking a five- or six-year contract worth at least $12 million per season. Reports had Boston offering about $8 million annually.
Matsuzaka, a right-hander with a hard fastball, was 17-5 with a 2.13 ERA for the Seibu Lions last season, and is 108-60 with a 2.95 ERA in his career. He would join Curt Schilling, Josh Beckett, Tim Wakefield and Jonathan Papelbon in the Boston rotation.