On this date five years ago, the Dodgers signed Japanese veteran Takashi Saito to a minor league contract that paid him just $500K in the big leagues. Saito, then 36, seized the team's closer role by mid-May, and in three years with the Dodgers he pitched to a 1.95 ERA with 11.6 K/9 and 2.5 BB/9 in 189 2/3 innings.
Here's some notes from the worldwide leader…
- ESPN's Jerry Crasnick graded the offseason of the five AL Central clubs, giving the Tigers a B+ for their additions of Victor Martinez, Joaquin Benoit, and Brad Penny. Indians' fans, I'm sorry to say your team received a D.
- David Wright told ESPN's Jayson Stark that he believes his Mets teammates will be impacted by a lawsuit seeking $1B from ownership. "When something is going on with them, of course it's going trickle down," said Wright. "You have to understand that unfortunately there's some great parts about this business and there's some situations like this." Make sure you check out Howard Megdal's simple guide to the Madoff/Wilpon mess.
- Dodgers GM Ned Colletti spoke to Jon Weisman of ESPN Los Angeles about a variety of topics, including closer Jonathan Broxton and the team's outfield situation. I recently identified Broxton as a player entering a make or break year.
- ESPN Boston's Gordon Edes spoke to Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon, who said he's comfortable with his role on the team. The Sox imported Bobby Jenks this offseason, and it's been speculated that he could replace Papelbon if he struggles.