Reports in the Japanese media insist a deal for the 22-year-old right-handed pitcher, Junichi Tazawa, has been agreed to with the Boston Red Sox – disappointing but not devastating news to the Seattle Mariners.
From the beginning, the Japanese pitcher had made it clear the Red Sox were favored, in large part because of the success of Daisuke Matsuzaka. Interest from the Mariners, Tigers, Braves and Rangers didn’t change his mind.
In fact, the reports indicate the highest offer came from Texas – five years and $7 million total, but Tazawa apparently has accepted a three-year, $6 million contract and is expected to begin the ’09 season in the Boston minor league system.
The Mariners interest was understandable, as was their reluctance to break the bank to get Tazawa.
Yes, he reportedly has a 97 mph fastball, but yes, he’s also 5-foot-7 and about 175 pounds, and has never faced professional hitters – not even in Japan.
He would have been a nice pickup, but Seattle wasn’t about to hop into a bidding war.