If yesterday’s reports from Japan hold true, we can count Dombrowski and the Red Sox in on the race for Orix Buffaloes closer Yoshihisa Hirano this winter.
With the race for the AL East title in full swing and the playoffs on the horizon in just less than a week, it comes as no surprise that this small snippet from the Pacific Rim would go unnoticed by Red Sox Nation.
According to a report from Yahoo! Japan, the Red Sox are interested in Orix Buffaloes right-handed reliever Yoshihisa Hirano.
The source article is of course written in Japanese, but have no fear! Here at BoSox Injection, we’re here to cover any and all content related to Boston’s baseball club – including roughly translated Japanese offseason rumors.
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Now let’s get to it. As stated above, yesterday reports from Japan came out that the Red Sox, along with the Chicago Cubs, would be looking into acquiring the services of Hirano this offseason.
While Hirano’s name doesn’t carry the same weight phenom Shohei Ohtani’s does here in the States, Hirano has put together a very successful 11-year career for himself over in the Nippon Professional Baseball league (NPB).
Initially a starter to begin his career, following 2009 Hirano became a full-time reliever and has since shined, posting an ERA below 2.65 in six of his eight seasons as a back-end stalwart. As the Buffaloes primary closer since the start of 2013, Hirano has also saved 28+ games in four of his five seasons – with 2015 being the exception when he was limited to just 31.0 innings of work.
For his career, Hirano holds a 3.10 ERA with 155 saves to boot. If Dombrowski chooses to chase the 33-year-old reliever this winter, he’ll be looking to acquire another steady arm for his already great bullpen.
It could help too that the Red Sox are no strangers to the Japanese market and the island nation’s pitchers. Since 2000 they’ve employed the likes of Hideo Nomo, Daisuke Matsuzaka, Hideki Okajima, Junichi Tazawa, Takashi Saito, and Koji Uehara.
As September turns to October and October turns to November, plan on remembering Hirano’s name as the offseason draws closer. He could just become an underrated addition for any team that ultimately wins his services.