BOSTON -- The Red Sox path to signing Japanese ace Daisuke Matsuzaka has apparently hit a bump in the road.
The Boston Herald reported Sunday that talks have cooled off for the time being, with just a precious few days left before the midnight ET deadline at the end of Thursday.
The paper reported that, according to a "well-placed" source, Matsuzaka's agent Scott Boras has acted disinterested and has been frustrated with the financial impact of the Japanese posting system on negotiations with the Red Sox.
It should be noted, however, that both sides still have every motivation to get a deal done and there is still time to accomplish that goal. Matsuzaka has basically already said all his goodbyes in Japan and is eager to pitch in the Major Leagues.
And as for the Red Sox themselves, they have constructed much of their offseason blueprint around Matsuzaka anchoring their 2007 rotation, along with Curt Schilling.
Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein has said all along that he will have no further comment on the Matsuzaka situation until "the process is complete."
Boras, aside from offering plenty of complaints about the posting system, hasn't discussed any details of the negotiations with Boston.
The Red Sox won the exclusive negotiating rights to Matsuzaka with a record $51.11 million bid on Nov. 14 and were granted a 30-day window to get a deal done with Boras.
The Seibu Lions have had financial troubles of late, so conceivably they wouldn't be pleased with the prospect of not receiving the posting fee.
Should a deal not get done by midnight Thursday, Matsuzaka would not be able to play in the Majors this season and would likely have to return to Japan to play in 2007. He isn't eligible for outright free agency until after the 2008 season.
Though both sides have kept the negotiations intensely private, reports have indicated that Boston's initial offer was between $7 million and $8 million annually over four to six years, while Boras was seeking an average annual value of approximately $15 million.
Mike Petraglia is a contributor to MLB.com. MLB.com reporter Ian Browne contributed to this report. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.