Sox sign Saito

Spring Trainging CF battle brewing
The reality of a Reds trade

In their on-going effort to capture the low-risk signing market, the Red Sox inked former Dodger closer Takashi Saito to a one-year, incentive-laden deal, according to Ken Rosenthal. Saito will make between $1.5 and $2.5 million with incentives that could push his contract value past $7 million. When he’s on and healthy, Saito is utterly filthy, and while he did pass his physical, he missed much of 2008 with a sprained elbow ligament. All in all, this is a very nice pickup for Boston.

Spring Trainging CF battle brewing
The reality of a Reds trade
  • The Evil Empire

    If he’s healthy, this might be their best pickup this whole offseason

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike A.

      I wouldn’t go that far, he’s still only a reliever.

      • The Evil Empire

        His career ERA is ridiculous, haha but yea if he’s healthy he can be better than Smoltz

        • Lanny

          Wouldn’t the “if healthy” thing make Smoltz the best pick up by far?

          • Jay CT

            Well, since Smolz has the very same “if healthy” then no, I don’t think so. He may not be back till June.

  • Sam

    I for one am dissapointed in the front office for not making this move. I can understand passing on the likes of baldelli and smoltz but saito’s potential is through the roof

    • The Evil Empire

      Yea, maybe the Yankees made an offer but didn’t include all the incentives

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Ben K.

      The Yanks already have a really good pen, and they’re not in the market for a 39-year-old coming off an elbow ligament injury. It’s a good move for the Sox, but it’s quite easy to defend the Yanks for not going after Saito.

      • Jay CT

        Or perhaps they have some other ideas still. Yes Saito is nasty when healthy, but its tough to get back there, and if something else is brewing (Cruz?). Even if not, they do have a good bullpen with alot of talent in the lower levels

      • soxfan

        The Yankees do not have a really good Pen. Besides last yr Rivera looked like he was declining in 07. so lets say the Yankees have a solid closer at. Damaso Marte was bad last yr, brian bruney was hurt, and then their pen is rounded out by Veras, Ramirez, Robertson, Coke. I think its propsterous to say the Yankees have a Really Good Pen. Ill take the Red Sox Masterson, Okajima, Saito, Smoltz and a better closer in Papelbon. The depth in the Red Sox bullpen will save the rotation in the year by resting them, just think no starter really has to go more than 6 or 7 innings. While CC has led the MLB in innings the last 2 years its fine with me if he wants to pitch 10 complete games from april to august. Burnett has landed on the DL every year for a period of time except last year(He is a Bandaid) Wang landed on the DL the past 2 yrs.(Season Ending) Joba should be in the pen. He is a good starter but I think its clear he does not have the Stamina to be a full time starter from april to september. And the phenom the Yankees think they have in Phil Hughes was just disasterous last year. I think its safe to say the Red Sox have a better and much deeper Rotation with Beckett, Lester, Dice-K, Penny, Buchholz, with Smoltz n Wakefield making starts in the hot summer months.
        Can anyone Argue with that?

        • http://www.riveraveblues.com Ben K.

          Sure, I could, but I have far better things to do with my time today.

          I do like how you call Hughes disastrous. How did Clay Buchholz work out for you? This is a typical “bury my head in the sand” comment from a Sox fan.

        • andrew

          hahahahahahaha

        • http://www.youtube.com/kevyyankees Kevin G.

          Argue with what? What you basically said was the Sox pen and rotation is better. No stats just your biased Sox fan opinion.

        • rbizzler

          Which asinine point would you like to start with? There are many.

        • The Evil Empire

          This guy is joking right?
          “Besides last yr Rivera looked like he was declining in 07”
          I literally spilled my drink when i read that, that’s like saying besides 26 World Championships, the Yankees never won.

        • nmc

          I stopped reading when you said Papelbon was a better closer.

        • Rome

          Clueless, utterly clueless. Joba doesn’t have stamina? Why? He is a great starter, why waste him in the pen. Paps is better than Mo? Oh, really? Numbers don’t say so. Especially in the final months of the season. The depth in the Sox bullpen is greater? Yeah, if you are looking at age. Smoltz and Saito together are about as old as Dick Clark. Otherwise the Yanks pen is deeper, younger, and more dependable. A 22 year old’s season was disastrous? So what, he is 22. Beckett i s declining, Dice-K walks keep going up and up, Lester is a prime candidate for the Verducci Effect this year for the amount of innings he pitched last year, Penny, well 6.27 era in NL, nuff said. Buchholz, and you called Hughes disastrous. What a train wreck he was. CC vs Beckett can’t wait. Lester vs AJ bring it, Wang vs Dice-K awesome, Joba vs who? Penny laughable, Hughes vs Wake let’s see if Bard can get Wake out of an inning without giving up a record of passed balls and wild pitches. Sox have gotten older, more questionable with their pitching staff. Bringing guys like Penny, Saito, and Smoltz sounds a lot like hoping Colon returns to Cy Young form. How did that work out? The lineup certainly is weaker. Big Papi is going to show you what Giambi looked like in 2008. Believe me, it is not pretty.

        • GG

          maybe on some of the sox blogs you frequent, people respect a rant like that, it wouldnt shock me as you chowderheads love to rant with no regard for logic. but as was already pointed out to you, you provide no support for anythng you said…if you choose to rep the sox on RAB, you should come better prepared

        • http://www.youtube.com/kevyyankees Kevin G.

          Yankees Relievers in 2008 (543.1 IP):
          8.66 K/9
          3.53 BB/9
          2.46 K/BB
          0.94 HR/9
          .237 AVG.
          1.27 WHIP
          .294 BABIP
          3.79 ERA
          3.82 FIP

          Red Sox Relievers in 2008 (479.2 IP):
          7.84 K/9
          3.77 BB/9
          2.08 K/BB
          0.83 HR/9
          .248 AVG.
          1.35 WHIP
          .301 BABIP
          4.00 ERA
          3.94 FIP

          • The Evil Empire

            Nice stuff, that’s how you prove a point.

  • Sam

    Aren’t we relying on a 39 year old to close out our games? I know it’s apples and oranges

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Ben K.

      Really? Comparing Saito to Mariano Rivera? Yikes.

      Also, please use the “Reply to this comment” link if you’re replying to someone else’s comment.

      • Sam

        I was merely comparing the age of the two. Further, while no mariano, saito’s stuff can be as electric as mo’s albeit not as consistent

        • http://www.myspace.com/earlweaverplaque Ace

          Mo is also coming off surgery.

          • Sam

            A little different kind, bit true nonetheless

            • Jay CT

              WRONG. I think Saito was great and all, and could still be really good, but Mariano? NEVER compare anyone to Mariano. Its Mariano and then everyone else.

              • GG

                well said…Mariano is a first ballot HOF….Saito broke down his 3rd year in the MLB

    • Pel

      They’re both fruits? WTF?!

  • VOIII

    The Redsox are cornering the market on low risk high reward F/As this off season. If only one pays off big they will have been big winners this OS. I would have liked the Yankees to at least try one of these deals.

    The potential for one or more of Penny, Smoltz, Baldelli, Saito paying off is well worth the 20 million or so it will cost. If more than one pays off, Theo will win executive of the year hands down

    • AndrewYF

      Oh please. What if none of them pan out, which is a much more likely scenario, and Boston finishes out of the playoffs while their rivals added actually healthy and productive players?

      You don’t really get any extra points for thrift. In my mind, these are high-risk, high-reward signings, as the chances of any of them actually working out to Boston’s satisfaction are lower than people think. I’d much rather have them go after guys who likely won’t contribute, than guys who likely will contribute. They’re not a small-market team. It’s a mistake for them to act like one.

      • http://www.riveraveblues.com Ben K.

        Nah. He won’t be the executive of the year, but these are very much low-risk signings. The only people counting on any of these signings to contribute are fans. I’m pretty sure Theo is well aware of the injury risks. That’s why none of these guys are being penciled in as aces, members of the starting lineup or closers. It’s for depth.

        • VOIII

          Remember when they signed Wakefield? No-one paid any attention to it. Yet Wake has been a fixture on that team, not an ace but a valuable innings eater and 4 or 5 for years… I understand that none of these guys may pan out. however they just might, if so they just might win the division and knock the Yankees out of the Playoffs after Cash spent 1/2 a billion dollars…Unlikely as this is, it would really suck.

        • AndrewYF

          I’m pretty sure one of Smoltz or Penny are penciled in to the rotation, unless they think Buchholz is ready for the majors again.

          And if Wakefield retires as is rumored, they certainly will be counting on one of these signings.

          They have turned themselves into an extremely injury-prone team. We’ll see if their mythical medical staff is actually light-years ahead of everyone else’s. Considering the injuries they’ve sustained in recent years despite this supposedly elite medical staff, my money is on “no”.

          • Jay CT

            How are they high risks? I realize you don’t like to admit this, but these could pay off, and if not, they are a bunch of 1 year commitments and very little money overall at that. What like 10 million combined roughly? Yeah, THATS a HUGE risk for them

            • AndrewYF

              You’re confusing financial risk and performance risk. The Sox, no matter what Gammons says, will be relying on these guys to perform, come the inevitable injury to one of their top four pitchers (not to mention, who’s the number 5 guy?). Signing injury-prone players instead of actually healthy major leaguers is very risky. Instead of low-risk, medium-reward, the Sox have opted for the high-risk, high-reward model. With all the injury risks on their staff, I’m not sure that’s the correct move.

              • Jay CT

                Fair points

            • steve (different one)

              everyone here always ignores the value of roster spots.

              this is the fourth such “low risk move”

              at some point they are going to have to actually get rid of something valuable to make room on their roster.

              • Jay CT

                This is a good point. Didn’t think of it that way.

              • MattG

                Is that true? Can’t Smoltz and Penny just inhabit the DL, or do you need to be on the 40 to have a DL spot?

        • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike A.
        • huuz

          but these are very much low-risk signings

          ****

          i disagree, the opportunity cost was quite large.

          penny: $5M + $3M (incentives)
          smoltz: $5.5M + $4.375M (incentives)
          saito: $2.5M + $4.5M (incentives)

          not to mention, baldelli, kotsay and others scrap-heapers.

          this is $13M guaranteed, and up to ~$25M for next season’s roster for a bunch of questions marks.

          i contend that their opportunity cost in acquiring all of these retreads is on the order of Mark Teixiera.

          if you were GM and give the choice of penny+smoltz+saito+baldelli vs. Mark Teixiera what would you do?

          if their farm is as deep as everyone claims, they should be able to fill out their roster w/ low cost role players instead of wasting $15M-$30M on health risks and retreads.

          • http://www.riveraveblues.com Ben K.

            There’s a huge flaw in this logic though. If the Red Sox end up shelling out that $25 million for those three players by the end of 2009, it means those three players would have exceeded our expectations and met the demands of their incentive clauses. You can’t really call them health risks and retreads if they perform that well.

            • huuz

              i did consider that, but their incentives are not performance based, only games, IP, appearances…

              they could SUCK and still get the incentives.

              buy my main point is that ~$13M still represents a large opportunity cost (coulda got Teixiera?, easily get Adam Dunn + juan cruz, etc.)

            • huuz

              additionally, this is kevin puke-ilis’s 2nd arb. year after making $3M last year. his price is going to go up dramatically over the next two years, and then he becomes a FA.

              he could get $6M-$9M in arb for 2009 after his 143 OPS+ in 2008.

              imagine when he is a FA after 2010, what will get if puts up an OPS+ in the 120-135 range (similar to 2007 and 2008)? $15M/AAV?

              what if they traded him this offseason, got a nice haul of cheap talent, skipped the $13M-$25M outlays to the retreads mentioned above and got teixiera? wouldn’t that be a better scenario at a very similar cost..?

      • Lanny

        I’d rather sign legit healthy players than dedicating my off season to complete injury risks that their parent teams wanted no part of. The Braves wouldn’t go for Smoltz and he is their franchise. They aren’t stupid.

        And Baldelli can’t play more than 4 innings at a time. This isn’t the Rocco from 4 years ago.

        • andrew

          Ummmmm… the Braves tried to sign Smoltz…

  • Nigel Bangs

    i like this move by the sox, but still, i wouldn’t be surprised if at 39 he’s done.

  • Lanny

    There is a reason the Dodgers wanted no part of him.

    • Jay CT

      They did want him though. I don’t understand why you keep saying that the teams didn’t want them back. The real thing is, Atlanta cannot really afford to make the mistake on a few million like the Sox or Yankees can. And apparently, Frank McCourt doesn’t have the money that others do, and they have a solid pen with Broxton and all.

  • http://www.myspace.com/earlweaverplaque Ace

    Juan Cruz makes even more sense now.

  • THU

    I love this move. I wanted Saito so bad, I thought he’d cost a little more at that too. Red Sox spent $12 million and if all the pieces fall into place they could be looking at a great offseason.

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Ben K.

      That’s a phony figure. If all of these players produce to the maximum, the incentive clauses will kick in, and the Sox will be paying considerably more than $12 million. Saito + Smoltz alone could be $17 million.

      • http://www.myspace.com/earlweaverplaque Ace

        Which is exactly what the Sox want; these players producing to the maximum.

  • http://www.myspace.com/earlweaverplaque Ace

    What kind of deal does Sheets think he is going to get now? I love how Penny and Smoltz signed before him. Is anyone going to give him 3 years? I just don’t see it happening.

    • AndrewYF

      I would love for the Yankees to sign Sheets to Pettitte’s deal, with an option for next year.

      • Jay CT

        Absolutely positively agree. I would even do a 2 year deal with an option. LOVE Sheets

      • The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

        Depending on what Sheets/Pettitte wind up signing for… Why rule out signing both of them? This market is crazy, who knows what will happen. Maybe throw in a little Juan Cruz while you’re at it and call it an offseason.

    • The Evil Empire

      we should give him 2 for 20?

  • zack

    Again, all of these guys, if even healthy and producing, will make much less of along term impact than Teix and his extra 10M.

    You can praise the Sox for being frugal and low risky and all that crap, but the bottom line is they could have had a much much better impact if they had ponied up extra money. And no “Teix was just playing them stuff” because we all know extra money woulda snared him.

  • http://asportsaddictneedsdivineintervention.blogspot.com/ E-ROC

    Good signing for the Sox. Next week the Yanks sign Juan Cruz. Then the RedSox retaliate by making comments about how the Yanks are trying to buy a championship. Then the RedSox cave in to Lowe and give him what he wants. Then Yanks decide to skip out on Pettitte and go after Sheets. Then RedSox go and sign Adam Dunn. Then noMaas drops dead.

    I kid. I kid.

  • The Evil Empire

    YAWKEYWAYSTORE.COM
    Does anyone else see the advertisement on RAB, ha ha Boston Red Sux gear

    • kunaldo

      i was wondering the same thing too…i think it’s dependent on the content on the page?

      • Ryan S.

        Its gotta be something like that. Does RAB get money from them whenever its clicked? We can all pay-per-click that ad to death if it does :D

        • http://www.riveraveblues.com Ben K.

          Yes and yes. It’s content-dependent, and we do get paid per click.

          • The Evil Empire

            My finger’s tired from clicking :)

            • MattG

              Save your finger. Google tracks the IPs, and it knows when you are inflating the clicks unethically.

              Save your finger for driving.

              • The Evil Empire

                Ha ha, I was thinking about that, but Google? I don’t think those Ads are provided by Google.

  • Mark B

    Anyone who thinks the Yanks should sign Ben Sheets should ask themselves….why would his former team, Milwaukee, the team which drafted him, coached and developed him, the team which already is thin in their rotation due to CC’s departure, not only decline to offer him arbitration, but also not even try to sign him to an incentive-laden contract?

    Why you ask? They must know something about his current physical state, and/or don’t think he is worth signing at the price range he is apparently looking for. It’s not like they are cutting their payroll – offering CC a $100mm contract should prove that.

    In another year, I might say sign him to a Jon Leiber-like contract which gets him healthy and ready for 2010.

    This year after signing Sabathia and Burnett, not to mention the return of Wang and Joba, as well as the competition among the talented Coke, Hughes and Kennedy for the last spot, I say pass…

    • http://asportsaddictneedsdivineintervention.blogspot.com/ E-ROC

      The Brewers offered arbitration to Sheets. He’s a Type A free agent.

      • Mark B

        My bad…. they obviously offered it to get the draft pick, though he declined – that will rank up there with Garland and Cabrera’s declining of arbitration as one of the stupidist moves of the offseason.

    • The Evil Empire

      Or they could just be waiting, eyeing the market so they won’t over pay for him

  • 27 this year

    http://insider.espn.go.com/espn/blog/index?name=olney_buster&action=login&appRedirect=http://insider.espn.go.com/espn/blog/index%3fname%3dolney_buster

    On that site, at the bottom of the first post offered a really interesting idea about the free agent compensation system and how to manipulate it. It would involve the Yankees getting the most benefit as they could sign players for other teams that could then be traded to that team for a little better value than their fourth round pick. Read it, it is interesting.

  • tmoney

    does anybody know a good a good sox blog like the equivalent of RAB just with analysis of the sox?

    • GG
      • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike A.

        Well done sir.

        • Whitey14

          Ouch!

          On another note, speaking of networks, has anybody heard if Dish Network is going pick the MLB Network?

    • Whitey14

      I’m sure there are some, but I haven’t found them yet. I’ve looked and looked, but a lot of Sox fans just tend to pat each other on the back and bragg about our two World Series titles. There’s so much anti Yankees vitriol spewed on most Sox blogs that they just come across as lame. I actually enjoy the conversation (most of it) here more because I want to hear opposing views of my team not just a bunch of guys sucking each other off. I refuse to view my team through Red Sox colored glasses which is another thing I like about RAB. There are many of you who view the Yankees very honestly and with an open mind and aren’t afraid to pick apart their flaws.
      Many fans make blanket statements, spend more energy rooting against their rivals then they do for their team, and can’t seperate fact from opinion, which really doesn’t make the bulk of them very good fans. If you root only with your heart instead of your head, you could be headed for trouble. I’ve found as a Red Sox fan you have to have a good balance of both. It’s great to care deeply about your team, but you’d also better know what you’re talking about and you’d better be able to point out the bad right along with the good.

  • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike A.

    This probably allows them to deal Masterson for a bullpen arm.

    • steve (different one)

      for a catcher?

      • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike A.

        D’oh. That’s what I meant.

      • MikeNYC

        I agree with you both, but I wonder who from the ML roster the Sox can afford to give up to sweeten the pot, and if they would be better suited to keep Masterson and sign a Zaun (sic) to spell Varitek, since it appears he will be back with the Sox for at least another year.

        To trade Masterson + to get a catcher who will not get much playing time might not be in the Sox’s best interest for this year – and depending on the ceiling for Masterson +, might not be the best long term either

  • fatboy

    How does this work draft pick wise… A couple of these guys have good years and then leave, the Sox get a bunch of picks, no?

    • The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

      Depends on where they wind up in the Elias rankings, which are based on performance for the last 2 years. Also, as we’ve seen this year, the arbitration process and the related draft-pick compensation isn’t always so simple.

      You can look here for guidance on this stuff: http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2008/07/free-agent-comp.html

  • ekh1210

    The Sox are paying between $2 and $7M for Saito when they could probably go 2 years and $7M for Juan Cruz — who presents less risk. I’m guessing Boston’s desire to retain their draft pick prevented that from happening. While I like the signing for the Sox, I’m not sure this was the best deal on the market for us, as I think the Yankees signing Cruz for 2/7 would win out (and would keep us from relying on all of Ramirez, Bruney, and Veras).

  • MikeNYC

    Another quality pick-up by the Sox, as I think all of these players they have picked up over the past week will contribute at some point this season.

    I certainly do not want to see Smoltz or Saito in September if they are pitching anywhere near the back of their baseball card, and these are the types of moves that winning, high revenue franchises make.

    The Sox had different holes to fill this offseason than the Yanks, and I think both have done well to round out the front-30 players on their roster.

    This should be a fun summer, and as I see it the difference in success this season will be how the Yankees fare with the last 250 innings needed from the starters versus the ability of the Sox offense to overcome the decline of Ortiz + absence of Manny for a full season. The Sox did well despite these issues last year, but with the dramatic improvement to the yankee rotation and starting depth the gap has certainly closed, and the production from the middle of the Sox order will be the X factor.

  • http://Greg Greg P

    I’d been thinking about the same thing Buster mentioned today. the equivalent of an NBA sign-and-trade. Sign a type A to a reasonable deal, then spin that player off to a team unwilling to forfeit their #1 pick for said player. As a hypothetical, sign Varitek and send him and a C prospect (bullpen arm like Cox) to the Marlins for a B outfield prospect. Again, not sure if the Marlins would be interested, but I have seen them mentioned regarding him several times. This is just a paradigm of the potential deals we could make to bolster our lack of upper-level position players. What does everyone think?

    • 27 this year

      yea I posted that above.

  • Phil McCracken

    I like this move by Boston, and wish Cashman took a flyer on him.

    Looking at our pen right now, I’m not comfortable at all with Veras. He scares me more than Farnsworth. I’d find a new home for him and sign Lyon or Cruz and give up the 4th rounder.

  • Mike Pop

    Another player I have to learn to hate.