NEW YORK (AP) – Major league teams wishing to sign Japanese pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka must submit their offers by 5 p.m. EST next Wednesday – and the Seattle Mariners won’t be bidding.

Matsuzaka was officially put up for auction Thursday by the Seibu Lions of Japan’s Pacific League. After the bidding has closed, the Lions will be told of the highest offer, without being informed of which team made it. The Lions have until Nov. 14 to accept.

If the offer is accepted, the big league team that made the bid is notified and gets a 30-day window to reach a contract agreement with Matsuzaka, who is represented by agent Scott Boras. The Lions only receive the payment from the major league team if Matsuzaka is signed to a big league contract.

The New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox and New York Mets are thought to be interested in Matsuzaka.

Matsuzaka was MVP of the World Baseball Classic in March, then went 17-5 with a 2.13 ERA and 200 strikeouts for the Lions. He throws in the high-90s mph, has good offspeed pitches and is known for the “gyroball,” a pitch that breaks to the left.

Seattle general manager Bill Bavasi said Thursday that the Mariners won’t bid. Bavasi said the decision was made by Nintendo Co. president Hiroshi Yamauchi, the boss of team chairman Howard Lincoln.

“Mr. Yamauchi has decided that the Mariners will not be participating in the bid process, a decision with which our baseball department concurs,” Bavasi said. “We will continue to pursue other ways other ways to improve the team, specifically our pitching.”

AP-ES-11-02-06 1643EST

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