Free Agent Stock Watch: Takashi Saito

Reliever Takashi Saito told reporters today he's uncertain about his future, but still believes he can pitch, according to Carroll Rogers of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.  Free agent stock watch time!

The Pros

  • Back in the National League, Saito's numbers this year were reminiscent of his Dodgers days: 2.83 ERA, 11.5 K/9, 2.8 BB/9, and four home runs allowed in 54 innings.  Unlike last year with the Red Sox, Saito was particularly tough on right-handed hitters.
  • Saito is likely to sign a one-year deal.
  • He could handle a closing job, and that strict usage would effectively limit his workload.

The Cons

  • Saito turns 41 in February.  Back in 2008 he became the first pitcher known to receive a platelet-rich plasma injection into his elbow, which allowed for a quick recovery from a torn ulnar collateral ligament.  With the Braves this year he dealt with hamstring and shoulder ailments.  At this point in his career Saito cannot be counted on for 50 innings.  I'm no doctor, but you'd have to worry about that ligament fully tearing.
  • 2009 may have been a fluke, but Saito's periperhals suffered in the American League.

The Verdict

Saito signed with the Braves for a $3.2MM base salary and another $2.3MM in incentives.  If his shoulder and elbow check out, there's no reason he should sign for less this time around.  In fact, he'd have a case for a raise.  He'll be appealing to most teams looking for a tough late-game reliever, but clubs will attempt to keep the base salary low and sign him to an incentive-laden deal given his age and recent injury history.

Leave a Reply

6 Comments on "Free Agent Stock Watch: Takashi Saito"

4 years 10 months ago

According to Cot’s MLB Contracts, Saito is eligible for arbitration. Last year, his contract apparently called for the Red Sox to release him if they didn’t exercise his option (rather than offering arbitration). Does anybody know if there’s a similar provision this year?

4 years 10 months ago

Saito like most Japanese veterans has a clause that makes him a FA.

4 years 10 months ago

Gotta think he could help a lot of teams if the price is right. I think an incentive laden contract is right for him too unless some GM ends up desperate for a closer type arm late in the off season. Wouldn’t mind seeing him sign with the Cubs if he came cheaply enough to help stabilize their pen.

4 years 10 months ago

He’s been good for us, but I really don’t want him back. We’re going to need someone that can work on back-to-back days.

4 years 10 months ago

I’d love philly to pick him up

4 years 10 months ago

I don’t see how his arm could ever pass any kind of physical as the story mentions, he is taking those experimental injections to prolong his pitching career 1 game at a time to bypass TJ surgery and has a partial tear as it is.

That said.. No reason anyone wouldn’t give this still solid righty the same 3-4M contract. he still throws just as hard as his old LAD days and is a good 8th inning guy. Boston would not use him on back to back days, except on very rare occasions and guess Atlanta did not either last year.