Matsuzaka rumors swirling


The Boston Red Sox may have posted the top bid for the right to negotiate with right-hander Daisuke Matsuzaka, ESPN The Magazine reported on its Web site Friday, citing Major League Baseball sources.

There has been no official announcement, and the Seibu Lions have until Tuesday to accept or reject the high bid.

But the Red Sox may have posted the top bid with a figure between $38 million and $45 million, the magazine quoted Major League Baseball officials who are monitoring the bidding as saying.

By 5 p.m. Wednesday, major-league teams interested in bidding on the rights to deal with Matsuzaka had to post a sealed bid.

According to a source within Major League Baseball, as of Friday afternoon, Seibu had not informed MLB officially whether it had accepted the bid, the report said.

Meanwhile, the Dallas-based Fort Worth Star-Telegram newspaper reported in its electronic edition Friday the Texas Rangers have made a major bid for Matsuzaka, perhaps close to $30 million, and that the Rangers have a chance to win exclusive negotiating rights.

Interest in Iwamura

NEW YORK (Kyodo) Yakult Swallows infielder Akinori Iwamura had drawn bids from an unspecified number of Major League clubs under the posting system as of the 5 p.m. Friday deadline, a Major League Baseball press official said. But the official declined to reveal the clubs or the highest bid for Iwamura.