by Allan Doherty

Theo Epstein, the Red Sox Architect, finally hammered out a six year, $52M contract with Matsuzaka’s agent Scott Boras. The addition of $51.11M in posting rights, payable to the Seibu Lions by the Boston Red Sox, makes the entire deal worth $103.11M.

Negotiations were continuous throughout the day on Wednesday, beginning at 9:30am EST. The deal wasn’t finalized until Epstein, Boras, Matsuzaka, Red Sox chairman Tom Werner, and Red Sox president Larry Lucchino touched down at Hanscom Air Force Base in Bedford, MA shortly after 5pm EST. Matsuzaka was taken by police escort directly to Boston’s Massachusetts General Hospital where he underwent and passed a Red Sox team physical.

Both sides had until the end of day on Thursday (12/14) to reach a settlement or Matsuzaka’s rights would have remained with Japan’s Seibu Lions. Seibu and Matsuzaka would have been forced to wait until next November before Matsuzaka could again be offered to major league teams.

With the finalizing of the six-year contract, there won’t be any more waiting for the Red Sox Nation; Matsuzaka will be wearing a Red Sox uniform in 2007.

Matsuzaka will be joining a 2007 Red Sox pitching staff that includes Curt Schilling, Josh Beckett, Tim Wakefield and Jonathan Papelbon.

Matsuzaka’s final agreement includes travel accommodations for him and his family from Japan, a personal trainer, a masseuse, a personal assistant, an interpreter, regular season and spring training housing, plus incentives that could eventually bring his final paycheck to $60M.

Scott Boras summarized the entire process by stating, “We came out of it with what I felt was the right decision for the player. It’s an economic package that is reasonable and could end up being good. For his country, for him and the interests of baseball, I think this is really the right decision for everybody.”

A Red Sox press conference is scheduled for Thursday at 5pm EST.

Allan Doherty maintains http://www.steroidsinbaseball.net

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