The Sox are trying to sign a Japanese pitcher named Daisuke Matsuzaka. They bid $51.1 m-m-m-million just for the right to negotiate. Does the money make sense? I have no idea.
It sort of sounds like when Real Madrid signed David Beckham. Real Madrid paid $41 million to Beckham's old club, plus his salary. I read, though, that they made that money back in jersey sales immediately. Apparently Beckham is so popular in Asia that enough people bought his jersey that Real Madrid made money on the deal before he ever walked on the field.
Maybe it's the same with Matsuzaka. Maybe the Sox figure that they'll make so much more money on jersey sales in Japan that the actual cost to them is much lower. Or maybe not. Maybe he's just a really good pitcher. Beats me.