RighthanderMatsuzaka is 91-55 with a 3.07 ERA in seven seasons in Japan's Pacific Leagueand was recently named the MVP of the World Baseball Classic with a 3-0 record.So what's next? "Major league baseball is currently the best league in theworld, so I would like to try what I can do in this league in the future,"Matsuzaka said through an interpreter after beating Cuba in the WBC final.
He could signwith a major league club this winter if his team, the Seibu Lions, honors hisrequest to put him up for bid. Through the same process in 2000 the Marinerswon the rights to negotiate with outfielder Ichiro Suzuki (paying $13 millionto the Orix Blue Wave). Matsuzaka, 25, has a 95-mph fastball and a nastyslider, and could fetch twice that amount from the Yankees, Red Sox orMariners-who would then have to kick in many millions more to sign the ace.