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Matsuzaka Update

The Matsuzaka story may happen sooner than any of us thought.

The Seibu Lions are holding a press conference tomorrow, presumably to announce that Daisuke Matsuzaka will officially be posted.

You may be able to count the Mariners OUT of the bidding process, according to the Seattle Times.

And, according to the excellent Matsuzaka blog:

For Yankee fans, the news from George King of the NY Post is that the Yankees may be looking at Jeff Suppan of the Cardinals as a way to hedge the chance that they won't win the rights to Matsuzaka. That seems like a surefire way to have Yankee fans screaming bloody murder in the streets. If you don't get Daisuke to the Bronx, you'd better bring in Zito. Suppan is a bad pitcher. Period. He has a career 4.60 ERA and a 1.416 WHIP over 12 seasons.

Go get Matsuzaka, Jim Hendry. It appears he can be yours.

More on the posting process from the Seattle Times article:

The bidding process on Matsuzaka will begin when Seibu notifies the Japanese commissioner's office that it will allow the pitcher to be posted. Japan's commissioner will then notify MLB, at which time teams will have four days to submit their bids to [Major League Baseball's vice president of international operations Lou] Melendez for the negotiating rights.

Melendez will then determine which team has the highest bid. He will notify the Japanese commissioner's office of the winning bid -- but not identify the team that made it. The Lions then have four days to accept or reject the winning bid. If they accept, the identity of the team will be publicly revealed, and that team will have 30 days to come to contract terms with Matsuzaka.

If the winning bid is rejected by Seibu, or it is accepted but no contract agreement is reached in 30 days, Matsuzaka would return to the Lions and be eligible to post again next season. In both instances, the posting amount would not be paid by the MLB team. Matsuzaka is not eligible to be an unrestricted free agent until after the 2008 season.