EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Sports

December 15, 2006

Little-known scout instrumental in landing Dice Man

BOSTON - The important players involved in making Matsuzaka Day at Fenway Park possible yesterday took their rightful places at the press conference's head table. Owners, CEOs, a general manager, agents and, most importantly, the 26-year-old pitcher who made the entire chaotic scene possible.



One key character, however, was not present. He was sitting at his desk in Australia.



Jon Deeble had done his part in getting Daisuke Matsuzaka to Boston, now it was time to move on.



"(During the press conference), I was home on the Internet doing some work, putting together our preference list for Japan for next year," said Deeble, Red Sox director of Far East scouting. "The job's not over. Whether it's Japan, Taiwan or China, we've got our finger on the pulse, and that's the main thing."



Other than occasional mentions from Craig Shipley, Boston's international scouting director, and Red Sox GM Theo Epstein, Deeble would never be identified by the Nation as playing a key role in Matsuzaka's bizarre trip to Boston. But in reality, there were much less important people involved trying to convince management to invest $103 million in the Japanese pitcher.




In fact, some might not realize that Deeble's role in the organization actually stretched beyond his one year as manager of the Lowell Spinners (2003).



Deeble is one of two point men responsible for the Red Sox's pursuit of Matsuzaka. He has, after all, seen the pitcher perform more than 60 times, starting back when the hurler was in high school.



Deeble is quick to point out, though, he was just part of the process. But, by most accounts, it was a fairly sizable part.



"We had a philosophy in place and we stuck to that philosophy," Deeble said. "Probably the thing we did the best, as a whole organization, was keeping it under the radar screen. We were in a lot of these places nobody knew we were in there. We didn't talk to the Japanese media about anything. We just did our job.



"It was a whole team effort, and we did a lot of homework as far as splits and breakdowns. It wasn't like we said, 'We like this guy. Let's go put a bid on him.' We did a lot of homework. I take my hat off to (Shipley). He did a lot of leg work in terms of getting all the figures out of Japan, which was a tough job. (Red Sox trainer/translator) Masai Takahashi did a fantastic job, too. We were getting information and he had to translate it from Japanese into English for us. (Takahashi) was in Japan with us throughout September. It was a total team effort."



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