Hideki Okajima Rumors

Cafardo’s Latest: Red Sox, Rangers, Angels, Viciedo

Nick Cafardo of The Boston Globe breaks down the 2010 Red Sox and what members of the team may not be around for 2011. He says Jayson Werth will be a free agent target and wonders if they're willing to commit three or four years to Adrian Beltre, who is having a monster season. Jacoby Ellsbury and Daisuke Matsuzaka could be trade bait, and then there's the issue of David Ortiz's $12.5MM option.

Let's round up the rest of Cafardo's rumors…

  • There have been "minimal, if any" talks between the Sox and Victor Martinez about a new contract. 
  • Expect Boston to revamp their bullpen, which could mean replacing Hideki Okajima.
  • Carfado believes that the Rangers settled ownership situation will help the team down the stretch as the players don't have to deal with any speculation.
  • Rafael Soriano and Joaquin Benoit, a pair of offseason pickups that are the Rays' two best relievers, will need to have their workloads monitored down the stretch, particularly Benoit who is coming off major shoulder surgery.
  • The Angels have close to $110MM tied up in 2011 payroll counting arbitration raises, which could hinder their pursuit of free agents this winter.
  • Kenny Williams says that teams never asked for Dayan Viciedo in a trade because they knew he was unavailable. We heard that Williams was willing to trade him before the deadline.
  • A split between the Mariners and manager Don Wakamatsu seems likely this offseason.

Okajima, Red Sox Avoid Arbitration

The Red Sox and reliever Hideki Okajima have agreed to terms on a one-year deal, reports Ian Browne of MLB.com (via Twitter).  Okajima will make $2.75MM and will receive bonuses of $50K each for 50, 55, 60, 65, and 70 appearances, according to Browne in a follow-up tweet.  The deal marks a significant raise for the lefty as he earned a base salary of $1.25MM last season.

In 2009, Okajima posted a 3.39 ERA with 7.8 K/9 and 3.1 BB/9 in 68 games.  The 34-year-old is entering his fourth major league season and will be under the BoSox contractual control until 2012.

Odds & Ends: Matsui, Cardinals, Arb Offers

Links for Monday…

Red Sox Notes: Hoyer, Ellsbury, Okajima

Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald shares a few of his thoughts about the Red Sox hot stove. Here are some highlights:

  • With Jed Hoyer taking the reins as the Padres' GM and Kevin Towers having been offered a position in Boston, Silverman thinks Adrian Gonzalez trade talks will restart in the offseason. Given how well Hoyer knows the Red Sox farm system, talks could progress faster than they have in the past.
  • Silverman says, though, that Hoyer's history with Boston doesn't necessarily mean a trade will happen. He points to former Epstein assistant and current Diamondbacks GM Josh Byrnes, and notes that Arizona and Boston haven't made a significant deal since Byrnes was hired.
  • If the Padres decide to hang on to Gonzalez, the Red Sox could potentially turn to Prince Fielder or Miguel Cabrera in their search for a power-hitting corner infielder.
  • Jacoby Ellsbury's below average defense in center (he posted a -12.3 UZR/150 in 2009) has the Red Sox thinking of moving him to left field.
  • If the team were to move Ellsbury to left (Silverman doesn't expect they will), it would be more difficult to find a replacement center fielder than a left fielder. Silverman thinks Boston should keep an eye on Carlos Beltran's situation in New York, given the Mets' struggles this year and the fact that Beltran would likely only be about $2MM more expensive per season than someone like Jason Bay.
  • Hideki Okajima is eligible for arbitration, but his contract states that he must be made an offer by November 10, so expect that to happen within a couple weeks.

Odds & Ends: Parker, Okajima, Kikuchi, La Russa

Links for Thursday…

Red Sox Contract Notes: Okajima, Drew

According to WEEI’s Alex Speier, when Hideki Okajima‘s 2009 vesting option triggered it also guaranteed that the reliever is under team control through 2012 if the Red Sox want him.   There had been some debate about whether Okajima would become arbitration-eligible after his current contract; the answer is yes.

Also, WEEI’s Rob Bradford notes that J.D. Drew is entering the phase in his five-year contract where certain injury situations would allow the Sox to void the last two years of this deal.  It seems unlikely, though.

Odds and Ends: Sheets, Moeller, Yankees

Links for Saturday…

  • As more teams lock up lefty relievers, Jon Paul Morosi sees the Tigers as more likely to land Joe Beimel.
  • Tom Haudricourt has heard that Ben Sheets is more likely to sign with the Rangers, who have Mike Maddux campaigning for them, than the Yankees.
  • Peter Schmuck hears that the Orioles have signed catcher Chad Moeller to a minor league deal.
  • Ken Davidoff writes that the Yankees shouldn’t concern themselves with Andy Pettitte just yet.
  • Dave Perkins of the Toronto Star doesn’t like the Yankees’ aggressive spending.
  • Jack Curry of the New York Times writes that the Yankees are instant favorites for the World Series.
  • Another New York Times writer, Ben Shpigel, writes that the Mets especially need Oliver Perez now that the Phillies have signed Raul Ibanez.
  • RotoAuthority breaks down the re-vamped San Francisco bullpen for fantasy baseball purposes.
  • Matt Clement‘s optimistic about his fresh start with the Jays.
  • Two players re-signed with their clubs after being non-tendered: Norris Hopper of the Reds and Scott Mathieson of the Phils.
  • Hideki Okajima will run a marathon Sunday, and the Red Sox aren’t thrilled.

Boston Says Okie-Dokie To Okajima in 2009

The Red Sox announced Saturday that reliever Hideki Okajima’s option has officially vested for next season.

Because he pitched in 115 games this season and last, the Red Sox were bound to pick up Okajima’s $1.75 million option for 2009.

Entering Saturday’s doubleheader with Toronto, Okajima, 32, has pitched in 123 games over the past two seasons. This season he’s got a 2.88 ERA with 52 strikeouts in 56.3 innings. Those are impressive numbers, though he’s had a bit of a problem allowing inherited runners to score.

Still, Okajima for $1.75 million is a steal — an absolute no-brainer. Other teams are paying set-up men far more, and have had to hand out long-term contacts, like the Phillies gave to J.C. Romero (three years and $12 million) or the White Sox gave to Scott Linebrink (four years and $19 million).

Oh, and Okajima’s got the absolute greatest theme song.

Coley Ward writes for Umpbump.com. You can reach him here.

Filling In The Gaps On The Failed Dye Trade

A few pieces of information were revealed today on the failed three team trade that was to send Jermaine Dye to Boston.

According to Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe, the Red Sox would’ve had to surrender reliever Hideki Okajima in order to get Dye.  Whether Okajima would’ve ended up with the White Sox or the third club is unknown, but Chicago makes the most sense. Okajima has been absurdly good this year – he’s allowed five earned runs in 51.2 innings.  The unexpected huge success of he and Takashi Saito should cause MLB teams to sign every Japanese reliever with a functional arm this winter.  Of course, the Red Sox refused to give up Okajima to get Dye.

Meanwhile, Buster Olney reported that the third team was the Brewers.  RotoWorld speculated that the Red Sox may have been trying to get Derrick Turnbow from Milwaukee.  The White Sox might’ve been eyeing Turnbow as well.  Kenny Williams is also known to like Manny Parra

Red Sox Sign Okajima

Many of you have emailed me with the news that the Red Sox have signed a LOOGY, 30 year-old Hideki Okajima from Japan.  It is a two-year deal with an option for 2009.  The Boston Herald says that while he does not throw hard, his curve is nasty.

Looks like he’ll rack up plenty of Ks and will be a good weapon against guys like Jason Giambi, Robinson Cano, Lyle Overbay, Johnny Damon, and Nick Markakis.