Tag: takashi saito

Braves Sign Takashi Saito

saito-redsoxIn a matter of 48 hours, the Braves have rebuilt their bullpen.

A day after signing Billy Wagner to be their closer, Atlanta wasted no time in locking up a setup man — Takashi Saito.

Saito was signed to a one-year, $3.2M contract. And just like that, the 8th and 9th innings are solved for the Braves.

I know what you’re thinking: a 39-year-old closer and a 40-year-old setup man sounds like a formula for trouble — particularly when both oldsters have suffered elbow issues in the past two years. But Wagner has a new elbow, and Saito cruised through 56 appearances last year — pitching in the AL East, no less.

All told, the Braves spent a total of $10.2M and a one-year commitment to shore up the back of their bullpen with two standout veterans. Compare and contrast that to the Mets’ strategy last winter of tying up K-Rod for 4 years and spending a total of $60M for him and J.J. Putz to finish up games in 2009. Now, which bullpen makeover made better sense?

So, to conclude the activity for the day: the Phillies added a Gold Glover to their infield, the Braves completed the overhaul of their bullpen, and the Mets signed two backup catchers.

The offseason is still young.

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New Market: Non-Tenders

Similar to a bonus number on your lottery ticket, the “non-tenders” inject a new influx of talent into the free-agent market. This year there are a number of intriguing players who have just been cut loose as a result of the non-tender process, and are officially free agents — with no worries about Types nor draft pick compensation.

Here are a few that the Mets might consider targeting:

Jonny Gomes

Something of an enigma, the power-hitting Gomes has had three disappointing seasons after showing great promise in his rookie season. His .182 average last season was abysmal, though he still put one over the fence at his usual rate of about once every 20 ABs. He’s weak in the field, strikes out too much, and at 28 is running out of time to fulfill his original potential as a future all-star. Teammates, managers, and fans love his emotional, hard-nosed approach to the game, but it’s his stick that makes him valuable. Putting him in the orange and blue would evoke memories of Dave Kingman. Who knows, maybe a change of scenery and a new set of eyes on him are what he needs to blossom. The Mets are desperate for a righthanded, power-hitting corner outfielder. Gomes would be worth rolling the dice on, no?

Daniel Cabrera

Can I mention the word enigma again? The big righthander is the righthanded version of Oliver Perez, only LESS consistent. At times, he’s dominating … most others, he’s a basket case. His upside is tremendous, he’s only 27, and he’s still trying to learning how to pitch. At 6’7″, he’s awkward and often looks uncoordinated, but who knows? It took Randy Johnson a while to figure it out … maybe Cabrera is right on the cusp.

Takashi Saito

An excellent closer, but coming off an elbow injury that makes him a huge question mark. The Mets won’t go after him — if they want to gamble on a damaged reliever, it will be Chad Cordero. But if the Dodgers don’t re-sign him, he may find a job as a closer for someone like the Cardinals.

Scott Proctor

He may never be the same after multiple arm injuries. However, he was still humming in the mid-90s in late September after recovering from a shoulder issue that affected him in the first half.

Yhency Brazoban

YADRNT – Yet Another Dodger Reliever Non-Tendered. Like Proctor and Saito, Brazoban has had serious arm injuries — and surgery on both his shoulder and elbow. The Dodgers originally dealt Duaner Sanchez to the Mets because they thought Brazoban was even better. However, he’ll likely re-sign with LA, on a minor league deal. Probably not worth gambling on, unless the Mets are willing to be patient with his continued recovery.

Tim Redding

Interesting that the worst team in the NL is comfortable allowing their best starter test the waters, rather than pay him the paltry $3M or so he’ll get through arbitration. He’s not outstanding, but he’d be a nice fit at the back of the rotation. He didn’t miss a start in 2008.

Chris Capuano

The lefthander once showed great promise, but after two Tommy John surgeries and missing all of 2008, it’s hard to determine his value. He’s 28 years old, so there’s time to bounce back, but how long before the elbow goes again?

Chuck James

Another lefthanded starter who seemed to have a bright future but was befelled by serious injury (huh … so much for the value of pitch counts and babying pitchers, eh?). After going 11-4 with a 3.78 ERA as a rookie in 2006, James suffered a rotator cuff injury in late 2007 and hasn’t been the same since. He just turned 27 and still has time to make a comeback. The good thing going for him is that he was never a flamethrower, so a loss in velocity shouldn’t be too much of an adjustment.

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