LEAD: Seibu told of top bid for Major League-bound Matsuzaka

 
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TOKYO, Nov. 9 (14:16) Kyodo

 
(EDS: CHANGING DATELINE, RECASTING WITH FRESH INFO)

The Seibu Lions said Thursday they have been notified of the
highest bid by a Major League club for right-hander Daisuke Matsuzaka.

Major League clubs presented their bids via the posting system
for the hard-throwing 26-year-old by the 5 p.m. Wednesday (EST)
deadline, but Seibu did not reveal the name of the team which has bid
highest nor the amount of money offered.

''We have confirmed the amount of money bid. But I cannot make
any comment on whether the club will accept it,'' said Seibu active
owner Hidekazu Ota.

The offer will be discussed at a Seibu board of directors
meeting to be held Friday or later. If Seibu accepts the offer within
four days excluding Saturday and Sunday, the highest bidder will have
30 days to negotiate a deal with Matsuzaka.

The Associated Press said the New York Yankees was confirmed to
have offered a bid for Matsuzaka, who spent eight years as the No. 1
starter for the Lions.

According to recent reports, the Yankees, New York Mets and
Boston Red Sox are among strong bidders and the successful bid is
believed to be worth over $20 million, more than the approximately
$13 million the Seattle Mariners paid for Ichiro Suzuki in 2000.

After Seibu rejected his demand for an opportunity to sign with
a Major League team after the 2005 season, Matsuzaka picked up a
career-high 17 wins against five losses in 25 starts this year before
obtaining the green light from the Pacific League club for a switch
to the Majors.

Matsuzaka also posted a 2.13 earned run average and 200
strikeouts in 186-1/3 innings and finished the season second to
Softbank Hawks right-hander Kazumi Saito in these three major
pitching categories.

In March, Matsuzaka helped lead Japan's successful campaign in
the World Baseball Classic and was named the Most Valuable Player of
the inaugural tournament.

A first-round draft pick in the 1998 amateur draft, Matsuzaka
has led the league in wins three times and in strikeouts four times
while winning the ERA title twice and the Sawamura Award, the
Japanese equivalent of the Cy Young Award, once.

He has a 108-60 career record with a 2.95 ERA and 1,355
strikeouts in 204 games and 1,402-2/3 innings.
 


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