Red Sox News: Boston and reliever Hirokazu Sawamura agree to terms
Red Sox reportedly sign Japanese reliever Hirokazu Sawamura
Days after the reports surfaced that the Red Sox were closing in on a deal with Japanese reliever Hirokazu Sawamura, it looks as if a deal may be done. Alex Speier of The Boston Globe reports that the word coming out of Japan per Sankei Sports is that Boston and the righty have agreed to terms on a two-year/$2.4M deal. Though nothing has been fully confirmed on this side of the globe, it seems like it’s more a matter of when and not if.
We’ve heard for weeks now that despite the flurry of signings that Boston made the Red Sox weren’t done working on this roster. Pitching was always the focal point in this offseason and Chaim Bloom has targeted it all along. This winter alone, he’s signed Matt Andriese and Garrett Richards while trading for Adam Ottavino. Adding Sawamura to the mix will only bolster this wishy-washy bullpen and he could be a stabilizing factor.
Per MLB Trade Rumors, Sawamura carries a fastball that will hit 97mph with a splitter that’ll hang in the lower 90’s as well. He’ll fit in perfectly with some of the relievers that the Red Sox already have that also love to throw nasty heat while breaking people’s ankles in the batter’s box. The righty has a decade of professional ball under his belt and with that veteran status can become another workhorse in this exhausted relief staff.
The Red Sox have a history with signing Japanese pitchers and in regards to relievers that history has been pretty damn kind to Boston. Remember Hideki Okajima? My guy was basically signed so that overpriced starter Daisuke Matsuzaka wouldn’t be flying solo on the roster and the dude messed around and became an All-Star and won a World Series. Oh yeah, he was in his 30’s when the Red Sox brought him aboard.
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Then we’ve got Koji Uehara and we all know how that story went. He came to the Red Sox at age 38 and became one of the best closers in the game. Much like Okajima, Uehara won a World Series title in his debut season. When that clock hit Koji-Time you knew the game was over and the Sox were gonna throw another tally in the win column. He’d also add an All-Star nod to his resume in the following season at age 39.
Now, you may be wondering why I brought up the ages for both Hideki and Koji, well it’s pretty simple, Sawamura will be turning 33 as the season is getting underway. I’ve seen his age being used as a reason why some fans may not want this signing to go down but that’s just a foolish worry. Obviously, we worry about the age of a starter or everyday position player, but when you’re coming in for an inning of work every other day, you can run that back all day long.
For the terms of the reported deal, I can’t see anything wrong here by Chaim Bloom and the Red Sox. It’s short-term and the money is nothing compared to what they could’ve spent on the free-agent market. They’re hoping they get the hurler that totaled a 1.71 ERA to finish off his most recent campaign and that hope may not be wasted. Compared to what we saw from Boston in the pitching department in 2020, Sawamura might as well be Cy Young. The risk is low and the reward could be very high, another smart and calculated move by Bloom and his team.