FEB. 15: The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal (Twitter link) has additional contract details, saying Sawamura will earn $3MM over the course of the two-year pact and the Red Sox also have a “conditional and complex” club option on his services for the 2023 season. If Sawamura hits every possible bonus, the contract will max out at $7.65MM over the three years.
FEB. 10: The Red Sox “appear on the cusp of” a deal with Sawamura, writes Alex Speier of the Boston Globe. Sankei Sports reports it will be a two-year, $2.4MM deal with additional incentives available, according to Speier.
FEB. 7: The Red Sox are making progress on a deal with reliever Hirokazu Sawamura, reports Chris Cotillo of MassLive.com (Twitter link). If finalized, it’s expected to be a major league contract, per Cotillo. Sawamura is an unrestricted free agent, so the Sox would not owe any compensation to his previous Nippon Professional Baseball team, the Chiba Lotte Marines.
The 32-year-old (33 in April) has pitched to a 2.77 ERA with decent strikeout (22.0%) and walk (7.3%) rates in nine seasons at Japan’s highest level. Sawamura had a difficult start to the 2020 season with the Yomiuri Giants, pitching to a 6.08 ERA while striking out eleven and issuing eight walks in 13.2 innings. After the Giants traded him to the Marines midseason, though, Sawamura turned his fortunes around. Over 21 innings for the Marines down the stretch, the right-hander worked to a 1.71 ERA with a much better 29:10 strikeout-to-walk ratio.
Last year’s early struggles were surely a red flag for some big league teams, but Sawamura’s post-trade rebound, his track record, and MLB-caliber arsenal have all seemingly worked in his favor as he’s talked with MLB teams this winter. Sawamura has a fastball that can reach 97 mph, a low-90s splitter that functions as his primary out pitch, and a slider.
No idea on him but hoping he’s good enough to push Barnes down a notch.
Agreed. Barnes should never close. I’d like him best as 3rd or 4th down the list of ‘trust’.
Totally agree but I’m wondering why the deal seems so team friendly if he really can help. Thinking he might have grown up watching Koji Uehara and just wanted to wear the Sox uniform. Assuming he met John Henry, it couldn’t have been Mr. Personality won him over.
O.s, I was agreeing with Scott, not my own comment from a week ago. Just noticed he agreed with my original comment from when the deal was originally announced,
dont disrespect my man Eiji like that
He is no Eiji.
That is like, wow that’s Cy Young, but he is really Matt Young!
A guy to keep an eye out for. I am kind of in this “prove me wrong” mindset with most under the radar Asian players because how is a 2.5 era over there gonna translate over here? I want him to do well, but as with most of these guys, I’m very skeptical. He’ll probably have an era in the low 4’s or so.
Sox have had really good luck with Japanese relievers: Okajima, Uehara, Tazawa. Starters… not so much.
Uehara had one of the most statistically dominant seasons in history in 2013. Ridiculous. All of them had their moments and then faded. I think when you come here as a fully developed pitcher that’s kind of what you can expect. But going forward it’s harder to make adjustments. The hitters get to know you and that can bring down performance somewhat.
Tazawa was abused by John F.
IT is more like, most Japanese pitchers come to MLB when they are too old.
Ohtani was an exception at 22, the next youngest guy was Masahiro Tanaka at 26. Most players are over 30 when they start playing in MLB, so they will meet their decline phase very soon.
Matsuzaka won 18 games and was 4th in CY votings.
Ohka developed through the SOX system, but was traded to the Expos before he became a solid starter.
Let’s not forget the 2007 World Series trophy he helped get as well. His major problem, imo, was the 51,111,111 posting fee. His contract was reasonable otherwise.
So you’re saying he’ll improve Boston’s bullpen.
some guys do great and some are meh. Takashi Saito was older and less proven as a RP and crushed it.
Saito and Okajima really turned heads in Japan because they were not expected to perform well, they were even selected to the All Star game.
Similarly Kikuchi and Tsutsugo contracts turned heads in Japan because they were perceived too high related to their talent/skill and other Japanese contracts.
Once again you’ve proven to not have a clue. Plenty of pitchers from Japan have found great success in major league baseball. Prove you wrong, give me a break! Who do you think you are?!
And once again Moneyballer, you show that you have a thing for me. I didn’t say that all Asian league pitchers suck, I just said that the underrated ones (guys putting up decent stats as relievers) have to do well in the MLB before I can give them props. Then you have your Darvishs, Kikuchis, and Suganos that look to be the real deal before coming over. I’m just skeptical on the lower level guys, that’s all. Proceed to feel wowed in my very presence though.
Lower level guys?! What on earth are you talking about?! He’s not a lower level anything. I hate almost everything you say!
He is definitely not in the same league with both Darvish and Sugano and Tanaka. They were superstar level players but Kikuchi was just one of the good pitchers in Japan.
I agree. Dude is a giant turd. Comments on every article like he knows the scouting report on every player. What an ego to think you need to comment on every article and people actually care.
Kaz Sasaki, Hiroki Kuroda, Hideo Nomo, adding to the list.
Including Matsuzaka and Hasegawa
Ducky Buckin Fent
Anyone who pitched for the Marines is good with me.
Interesting signing. Can’t find much info on him. Matter of fact, I don’t recall him being mentioned as an MLB free agent at all.
Keep hoping Cashman gets back in on this reliever market. So deep. So many quality arms left yet, man.
Anyone know what the $$ on this deal was?
It’s not a done deal yet. “Making progress.”
Ducky Buckin Fent
Yeah, my bad.
I jumped the gun.
Any reports on the reported $$ yet?
The few, the proud… the(Chiba Lotte) Marines
Sawamura has always had great stuff, he was ROY in 2011. His problem has been between the ears, he loses his composure at times as evidence by getting slapped upside the head by his catcher.
Stephen Matz needs a catcher like that.
Carlos Zambrano had a catcher like that.
When ya think about it, catchers like that should be the highest-paid players in the game. The list of knucklehead pitchers is long. Catchers should be taught to either slap them silly or talk like Yogi.
AJ Pierzynski agrees
Ever read Bill Lee’s book? Think he pitched some games where he was so bombed hitting him as hard as could might not have helped.
Excellent signing. Her song “STFU!” is fantastic. The music video is awesome.
I like this signing a lot. He can be great.
Red Sox have had decent luck with Japanese Relievers. Hideki Okajima, Junichi Tazawa, even Koji Uehara (even though he did not sign with them originally). Could be a good move as i don’t see him costing much
Could be a treasure for us but why does Bloom choose foreign talent rather than someone that is known to do well in MLB already?
There are a lot of new foreign talent around and he just happened to be one of them. I guess you want MLB players to be only Americans, or veterans..
Never meant that. I just would rather take my chance on players with ML experience.
It depends on his cost v the cost of some of the other low-end BP help available. I don’t know, for example, whether Melancon is looking for $3M or $6M.
Plus, the RS have had really good success with Asian RPs. My understanding is the Japanese pitchers don’t have the same type of standardized development that US pitchers have, This gives way to a lot of non-standard deliveries that US hitters haven’t seen before. That can be a nice advantage.
As a longtime Pirate fan, I feel as though we should be exempt from cheap shots from fans of teams with real owners. It’s bad enough we have to live with Nutting as our owner. Salt in the wounds.
But he hired Theo Lite. I am excited about that because I’m a Red Sox lifer that lives in NCWV, about 90 min from PNC Park, and around 30 from where the Black Bears play, though I’m really unclear on their status moving forward.
His FB hits high 90s, split low 90s so good arm, it’s all about control with him! But on the surface at least he has better raw stuff than most on the staff
Mr. Bloom is for sure cut from a different cloth than Dombrowski or Epstein.- No question. And I say that as a compliment.
I’m making progress on pronouncing his surname correctly
If he can get the leadoff guys out and throw strikes, he’ll be an improvement on that gas can of a bullpen.
What are we calling him? Haro? The Saw?
We should call him ‘Jigsaw’ (from the Saw movies). I love this move if they end up signing him. He has a nasty slider and plus fastball. Has late inning RP written all over him and if he can dial in his control, he could even be used as a closer. Sign him up Hi-um and get us a legitimate OF too please.
Willie Mays Hayes
RED SOX SIGN SAWAMURA, CHAMPIONSHIP GO SAYANORA
On the cusp 5 days ago, this has been moving right along.
Martin Perez was announced almost a month after the deal was “agreed upon”. There is no hurry as the Red Sox do not have a 40-man roster spot open. Maybe they can wait until spring training starts, so they can DL/IL Chris Sale, so they not have to DFA anyone.
This is Tweety Bird covering the Red Sox direct to you from Boston,
With this late breaking player news item,
” I taught I SAWAMURA !!”
Sawamura was the Closer for Yomiuri in 2015 and ’16 so maybe, just maybe he can be a late inning option for the Red Sox (as we know they won’t spend for Rosenthal and the cheaper alternatives Romo, Kintzler, and Soria are off the board). I like Matt Barnes but he should not be allowed anywhere near the 9th inning
I don’t think he’s a very good closer, or even reliever. I hope the BoSox scouts are right. But I don’t thinks so looking at his numbers
I like this signing. He’s not Heath Hembree, Brandon Workman or even Keone Kela. Sawamura is an experienced veteran, has good stats, throws 96-98 with movement and has a nasty splitter. Boston didn’t overpay here and they can extend him if it goes well. If it doesn’t work out, oh well. That’s baseball sometimes.
gambling some time its pay off
but when gamble you need ti have deep pocket or in this case deep bullpen
His jerseys sales will pay his salary alone. Boston isn’t scheduled to get a ring till 23 so positive production from this Cat would be a bonus.
What’s the price on those Jerseys? Maybe Henry should make half the roster from overseas to off=set the fans missing from the stands!! I think you are on to something!! That’s why he’s a billionaire and we are not. We are the fans buying a crap product so he can pocket more money. Man it’s rewarding to see the ownership tear down a winner to make more money!!!
And the this is new because…..? Jesus man it’s been happening since the 70’s
It’s been, Damn!…over 20 years now, but the Sox can dream on another Kaz Sasaki, who brought his FILTHY Splitter over to the M’s in 2000 (in his age-32 season) after starring in Japan and proceeded to rack up 119 saves in 3 years and 2 all-star nods! (Played 4 seasons total in MLB 3.14 ERA/129 Saves) Gotta dream BIG, right!? 😉