Before a crowd of 200 reporters in a ballroom at the Takanawa Prince Hotel, Seibu Lions president Hidekazu Ota confirmed the team's intention to make Matsuzaka available via the posting system.
Once Matsuzaka is posted, major-league clubs will have four days to submit sealed bids. The Lions then have four days to accept the highest bid, which could reach $20 million - $7 million more than the Orix Blue Wave got in 2000 for posting Ichiro Suzuki. (Seibu is supposed to know only the amount, not the winning bidder.) Once the offer is accepted, the Lions will pocket that eight-figure payment, provided Matsuzaka and the major-league team come to terms on a contract within 30 days.
You'd have to think the Yankees will be involved.
Meanwhile, it's official: Don Mattingly will replace Lee Maz as Joe Torre's bench coach (triple A hitting coach Kevin Long will take over for Mattingly). This doesn't necessarily mean that Mattingly will one day take over for Torre.
"You can't just assume something will be given to you," Mattingly said. "I need to earn everything I can get. And I don't have to be in a hurry. I don't need to put any kind of timetable on it, to put that kind of pressure on the situation. I need to learn."
General manager Brian Cashman said he even made a point of telling Mattingly last week that this promotion doesn't "guarantee" him the manager job - although obviously it's a very encouraging sign.
"Brian made it pretty clear to me ... he wasn't guaranteeing anything for me," he said. "He felt like I had the mind to be able to do more, to be able to manage someday, but obviously the New York Yankees is a huge job and there's a lot that goes with it.
"Obviously," he added, "this puts me in a better position because I get to do a lot more in the game and be involved in a lot of different areas that I couldn't be before."
(Jim Baumbach, Newsday)
Mattingly doesn't strike me as the managerial type, but what do I know? I've said all along, ideally, you don't want to be the guy who replaces Torre, you want to be the guy who replaces the guy who replaces Torre. But Mattingly is a Yankee legend so you never know.