It may be a little harsh to label it a pact with the devil, but the contract Japanese pitcher Daisuke Matazuka is negotiating with the Boston Red Sox has taken on Faustian overtones, if not overt subversiveness.
After shelling out an astonishing $51 million just for the right to negotiate with Matazuka, Boston CEO Larry Lucchino has been rebuffed by MLB Commissioner Bud Selig's office in the Red Sox attempt to pressure Matazuka's team, the Seibu Lions, to kick in a few million dollars to defray the amount Lucchino must pay the 26-year-old ace.
Though MLB has strictly forbidden the scheme, that hasn't stopped Matazuka's agent -- Boras Karloff -- from promoting a little creative financing to close the gap between the $7-$8 million a year Lucchino reportedly would like to pay, and the $14-15 million or more Karloff would like to collect for his client by the Dec. 14 closing deadline.
Instead of paying the Red Sox directly, the way Karloff sees it, the Lions could just pony up a little parting gift for Matazuka to compensate him for any perceived Red Sox shortcomings.
Nothing big, of course; just a little token of esteem. Yeah, that's the ticket: a case of wine perhaps or a gold watch. Maybe a couple of boxes of stationery would be appropriate, say some nice watermarked, 20-pound cotton-fiber bond with, oh, a personal, gold leafed monogram or possibly -- wink, wink; nudge, nudge -- printed in the form of stock certificates or pictures of dead presidents. We're only talking about $10-$20 million or so. Hey, who's going to let a little integrity get in the way when sentiment is at stake?