According to published reports, the Red Sox have shelled out $51M for the right to sit down with Scott Boras and ask politely how many of their children he wants for his client, the artist soon to be known as D-Mat. (Might I suggest he go for something a bit more pragmatic, say, Laundro-Mat, Foto-Mat, or, if this mysterious gyroball somehow fails to zip in the foetid air of Fenway, Door-Mat)
That's right, the money just earns them the right to talk turkey for 30 days. That being said, this still makes sense if you squint hard enough. For one thing, there aren't many good pitchers out there to be had, and Theo Epstein seems disinclined to raid the farm system to trade for any. So if you're going to pay, why not pay for the guy who's younger than Schmidt or Zito? For another, this potentially takes a bite out of the Seattle-New York axis of ownership of the Japanese market, spreading the love and the cash. And number three, the Yankees don't get him, which can't be a bad thing.
Mind you, if you really want to go into conspiracy-land, try this: The Red Sox win the posting process, a glorified eBay auction that has to drive agents nuts. They then sit on the rights and let them revert back to Seibu without paying a nickel. This allows uber-agent (or maybe unter-agent) Scott Boras to file a lawsuit, claiming the posting process is illegal, immoral, fattening, and restrictive of his client's right to make a gazillion dollars. In exchange, he cuts them a break on another client or two. Like, say, the guy they're supposedly offering $44M to.
Immoral? Unlikely? Flat-out odd? Well, yes, but evilly fun to speculate about.