Sons of Bill Simmons

Rumors involving Boston Sports, Celebrity Gossip, and Humor

Red Sox To Sign Junichi Tazawa

Posted by Mike on December 1, 2008

BASEBALL/

Per Boston Herald:

By today or tomorrow, the Japanese right-hander is expected to sign a three-year, major league deal with the Red Sox. He would likely begin his U.S. career in the minors.

The club has been negotiating recently with the 22-year-old, who, according to multiple reports out of Japan, has rejected competing offers from the Texas Rangers, Atlanta Braves and Cleveland Indians in order to sign here.

Another name from Japan could be popping up on the hot stove radar of the Red Sox and other teams soon: 33-year-old right-handed starting pitcher Kenjin Kawakami. The Sox have scouted him multiple times and the veteran has expressed interest in playing here. Several teams are expected to be involved in the bidding for Kawakami.

More from Boston.com:

As for Tazawa, assessments of his talents have varied and, in some cases, been grossly inaccurate. Some reports have placed his fastball in the range of 95-97 miles per hour when, in fact, Tazawa has been clocked consistently in the low 90s. He is said to have good command of both a breaking ball and changeup, the latter reportedly having the action of a split-fingered fastball.

One major league evaluator placed Tazawa’s talent in the range of a mid- to high first-round draft selection, suggesting that his upside could be quite high. However, Sox officials are being cautious about overhyping the pitcher in the wake of the success of Matsuzaka, who became the subject of international interest when the Sox spent a whopping $51.11 million solely for his negotiating rights, and Okajima.

Earlier this offseason, one Sox official likened Tazawa, at a minimum, to former major leaguer Shigetoshi Hasegawa, a middle reliever and setup man who pitched quite effectively for the Seattle Mariners and the Anaheim Angels from 1997-2005.

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