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.