The Red Sox signed left-hander Hideki Okajima to a one-year deal worth $1.75MM, according to ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick. The deal includes $550K in incentives and allows Okajima to become a free agent at the end of the 2011 season, Crasnick reports. (all Twitter links). The Pirates, Mets, Rays, Blue Jays and A’s all showed interest in the Joe Rosen client after the Red Sox non-tendered him in December.
Okajima, 35, has seen his performance decline in his four big league seasons. He followed up his 2.22 ERA as a rookie in 2007 with a 2.61 ERA in 2008 then a 3.39 ERA in 2009 and finally a 4.50 ERA in 2010. His strikeout rate was a career low 6.5 K/9 this past season while the walk rate was a career worst 3.9 BB/9. Okajima did miss time this summer with back stiffness, so perhaps that’s to blame.
The Red Sox have been in the market for a lefty reliever, and were recently said to have interest in Brian Fuentes. Although lefties hit .284/.357/.375 off Okajima in 2010, the funky southpaw has held them to a .217/.271/.320 batting line in his career.
Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports first reported the agreement (via Twitter) and Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe first reported that the two sides were close.
So who goes from the 40 man to make room for him?
Probably one of Coello, Atchison, and Mark Wagner (4th catcher on 40 man roster).
Weakest position in Boston is catcher so Wagner may stay for now as depth. Atchision had some value last year in mid leverage situations.
I agree that Atchison had some value last year as a replacement level player at replacement level cost (WAR of 0.0 last year), but right now he’s the odd man out in the pen and is out of options. As for catcher, Expositio could be called up mid-season if need be. While he isn’t as good defensively as Wagner, he isn’t a bad 4th option either and doesn’t currently need a spot on the 40 man roster.
It’s Max Ramirez off the 40 man and already claimed by the Cubs.
Yeah, I saw it. So much for the catching depth argument eh?
Adrian Gonzalez or Carl Crawford.
Not Lackey or Beckett?
Not Lackey or Beckett?
Not a huge overpay, but an overpay for someone who’s been trending down every year. I won’t be surprised if he’s gone by mid-season to a NL team where his deception will be more effective for a little while.
Should’ve gone to the Mets or at least the A’s. Okajima’s problem seems less to do with his back and more to do with the fact he lived off of his funky delivery. His steadily declining numbers through the years are indicative, to me, of people just figuring it out. A change of scenery to an NL team or at least another division would likely have served him well on a one year deal where his deceptive delivery would baffle a new set of opponents for a while.
Can you even believe that Gonzalez and Crawford are working out right now with Red Sox gear on? It’s unbelievable.
How about offering Devern Hansack a minor league deal for one more chance at the bigs?
I still like Okajima. I know it’s probably not logical, but I think he’ll be better this year.