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Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Red Sox Reportedly Finalizing Deal With Japanese Pitcher Hirokazu Sawamura

The Red Sox reportedly have made a move to bolster their bullpen.

Boston on Monday was in the process of finalizing a two-year, $3 million contract with Japanese relief pitcher Hirokazu Sawamura, according to multiple reports. The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal was first to report details of Sawamura’s contract, which includes a “complex” option for a third year.

The deal reportedly could see Sawamura earn as much as $7.65 million.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: February 16, 2021 at 02:20 PM | 3 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: hirokazu sawamura, japanese free agents, red sox

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   1. villageidiom Posted: February 16, 2021 at 09:30 PM (#6005436)
I approve, if only because he's got to be an improvement over whoever was the last guy out there in the bullpen.
   2. Jose Is An Absurd Balladeer Posted: February 16, 2021 at 09:37 PM (#6005437)
That’s a fairly low bar to clear.
   3. villageidiom Posted: February 17, 2021 at 08:26 AM (#6005461)
Yes, but if they're constantly doing that it's a good thing.

Mostly, though, it's just a recognition that all I know about Sawamura is from some video highlights from Japan, and the last time I relied on that to learn about someone it was Daisuke Matsuzaka. He a) worked out pretty well but b) was nowhere near what he had been hyped to be. I'm recognizing that the only thing I can say from my relatively uninformed position is regarding the lowest bar they need to clear.

If he can keep hitters guessing wrong on fastball vs. splitter, he could be the best we have. If he can't, then he needs to stick with the splitter and create enough movement on it to keep hitters from making solid contact, which appears to be something he has been able to do in Japan. There's plenty of footage online of hitters swinging under his fastball and way over his splitter. Some reports suggest he has the best splitter in Japan, so there's that. But again, I've bought into hype before, and he doesn't need to match the hype to be a good acquisition.

At a minimum we have this:
In May 2019, weekly magazine Asahi Geino reported an inebriated Sawamura had choked someone in an elevator. According to the report, the Giants admitted the incident occurred and was settled by an apology from the player. It was the second report of a drunken assault by the right-hander, another occurring in 2014.
Fortunately there's absolutely no chance of a MLB player getting drunk and interacting with people afterward, and even if that fails people in the USA are quite forgiving of millionaires who assault them in elevators and very willing to accept an apology in settlement, so there should be nothing to worry about there.

On the lighter side, he is apparently good friends with Koji Uehara. And that reminds me of Koji, which reminds me of this, which makes me smile.

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