The Red Sox have added a third Japanese player to their pitchers. Junichi Tazawa and the Boston Red Sox officially announced the signing today. There can be a bit of speculation with this acquisition, the biggest question being: Why the Red Sox? The Braves, Mariners and Rangers (who reportedly offered more to the Japanese righty than the Red Sox) also had interest in signing the amateur who asked the Japanese pro-baseball division not to sign him. Luckily, this is NOT a rhetorical question!! Junichi Tazawa gave three specific reasons as to why he chose the Red Sox.
1. He likes our development program. He’s definitely right in liking it, look at the players we’ve produced from our farm system: Jacoby Ellsbury, Jed Lowrie, Kevin Youkilis, Jonathan Papelbon, Dustin Pedroia, etc.
2. Japanese players, staff, and speakers are all part of the Red Sox organization. The good thing about the Japanese pitchers, who have had huge success with the Red Sox, is that they’re pitchers, so they can help Tazawa out since he only played in Japan’s industrial league.
3. The Red Sox were the first team to scout him. Hey, first come first served right? Apparently, the Red Sox keep a close eye on the Japanese market. Theo has the intentions of beginning Tazawa in Double-AA Portland, and seeing how he does in Spring Training. Theo first saw Tazawa in person last November, so they’ve been keeping an eye on him for the past thirteen months. Tazawa’s deal is not as substantial as Dice-K’s outrageous $103.1 million, Tazawa’s deal is for 3 years, at $3.3 million. Tazawa is only 22, so if Theo and the international scouts of the Red Sox that landed Matsuzaka and Okajima see potential in him, there’s definitely something there.
His fastball has increased in velocity, now ranging between 91-94 mph. according to Epstein. He also has great command, and can spot fastballs in all parts of the strike zone. *Tangent time* Speaking of the strike zone, does anyone know how the “BK Hot Zone” works? How do they get those stats? It’s crazy!
Plus Red Sox fans, think how fun it is to say his name! Junichi Tazawa! TaZAwa.
Two great days in a row for the Red Sox.
Hopefully Youkilis and Papelbon will get extensions in their contracts since they are eligible for arbitration. It’d be great to have them be a part of the Red Sox organization for many years to come. And of course we have our Varitek and Lowell wishes, but how many times have I put that in a blog post?