Yankees sign Hideki Okajima to a minor league deal

A-Rod undergoes experimental knee procedure
Guest Post: The Lottery Ticket

If the Yankees feature a second lefty in the 2012 bullpen, they’ll do so on the cheap. Earlier in the off-season they signed Mike O’Connor and selected Cesar Cabral in the Rule 5 Draft, and now they’ve added Hideki Okajima to the list of non-roster spring training invitees (via David Waldstein). Okajima pitched well for the Red Sox in 2007 and 2008 before declining steadily. He missed some time in 2010 with a lower back injury, which might explain his horrible performance. Last season went a bit better, though it was mostly spent in AAA. The chance of Okajima making the Opening Day roster is slim, but he’s as good a bet on a minor league deal as any.

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A-Rod undergoes experimental knee procedure
Guest Post: The Lottery Ticket
  • Peter R

    I hope he is our Ace Aceves this year….though Aces got a major league deal didn’t he? That is the main reason he left the Yanks?

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

    Oh sure they have money for this, but not to sign our lord and savior Edwin Jackson.

    • MannyGeee

      well played

    • Peter R
      • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

        Yep. Not a fan of Okajima, but it’s a minor league deal. If they’d given him a 40-man spot, I’d be much more upset.

        • Ted Nelson

          I don’t see why you’d be at all upset about a minor league deal.

    • Jumpin’ Jack Swisher

      Born to wear pinstripes, yet denied again: poor Carlos Beltran.

    • http://twitter.com/themanchine The Manchine

      Mike, you think Edwin would keep them from pursuing a SP next offseason??

  • John in Ithaca

    This I can live with. Low risk anyway.

  • Sal

    He will dominate. This how these signings go. A reliver will suck for a couple of years and then they go back to pitch great and so on and so forth.

  • Peter R

    Need to go sign Mike Myers again. Loved that guy on the roster.

    • Jumpin’ Jack Swisher

      Wayne F’ng Franklin. He’s rested. He’s clean. He’s ready to roll.

      Know who looked particularly spry at Old Timers Day? Yup. George Frazier.

    • Improvident Lackwit

      For some reason I liked it when they played the Halloween theme whenever Torre brought him in. 2007 memories….

      • MannyGeee

        yah, it was always a horror flick when Mike Myers came in.

  • BK2ATL

    Edwin Jackson???

    You mean, 10 year, $253 million dollar man Prince Fielder, right? Surely we have the money to sign him too, then we could have Texeira on the bench to pinch-hit and become backup 1B and 3B. No need to bring back Chavez. Just Andruw Jones.

    Boom. Problem solved. #28 in 2012….j/k.

    Nah, seriously. This signing has potential. I’m sure they did their due diligence on his back woes. Since he improved in AAA in 2011, maybe he’s clear of the injury, which is why they took a flyer on him???

    I like this move much more than signing someone like Mike Gonzalez for 2-3 years.

    Also Cabral appeared to be pretty effective in winter ball. Maybe between these two we could eke out another LOOGY….

    • Yank The Frank

      The Yankees and “due diligence” do not always go hand and hand.

  • YanksFan

    Great signing, we were short our quota of Hideki’s.

    Maybe he can entice Nakajima to sign. Then he can be buddies with Hiroyuki.

    In all seriousness – another pithcer to throw against the wall to see what sticks is great to have. 1 or 2 more for the pen or rotation will probably come in the next month.

    • Jumpin’ Jack Swisher

      The genius of Brian Cashman to put last-minute pressure on Yu Darvish not to sign with Texas.

      • Peter R

        I smell what the Cashman is cooking.

  • CJ

    Bring back bart Colon for $4m and call it an offseason

    • John in Ithaca

      Why not? He was pretty good until he ran out of steam cells… … …get it? That was pretty bad I guess. Sorry. But I really could live with another year of Bartolo Colon.

      • Jumpin’ Jack Swisher

        Bartolo Colon running out of steam cells in August would be quite the sight.

  • MannyGeee

    butbutbutbutbut….. Bobby Valentine and the Asian Influence!!!!!!

    /confused

    • Jumpin’ Jack Swisher

      August 2012: Okajima, with a slightly glazed look in his eye, gives up game-winning grand slam to Adrian Gonzalez. Camera focuses on Bobby Valentine wearing huge shit-eating grin.

      • MannyGeee

        well, Boone woulda plunked him.

        So there’s that

        • Jumpin’ Jack Swisher

          Boone’s not Asian, I mean, as far as I can tell.

  • Jumpin’ Jack Swisher

    Minor league deal? Sure.

  • Gonzo

    So, the $100k minor league bonus thing in the new CBA counts if he stays on the minor league roster, right? Does that money count towards the luxury threshold?

    I wouldn’t think so, but I wanted to clarify.

    • Jumpin’ Jack Swisher

      They’ll never be able to afford Cole Hamels now.

      /Yanksarecheap’d

      • BK2ATL

        I laughed.

    • Peter R

      Man we fans are in a whole diff mindset now…counting evey 100K the Yanks spend….jez. Whatever game Cash is playing, it is working…at least on the fan base.

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

      I’m not sure how that retention bonus thing works. I imagine the player has to have so much service time to qualify. The bonus shouldn’t apply to the luxury tax because the player won’t be the on the 40-man roster, but then again who knows.

      • Gonzo

        Thanks. I guess we’ll know soon enough.

  • Jose M. Vazquez..

    I can see nothing wrong with signing Okajima to a Minor League contract. There may come a time when he strikes out Gonzalez and Ortiz in the late innings of an important game. Hey, you never know.

    • Yank The Frank

      A dollar and a dream.

      • Jose M. Vazquez..

        Guess I expected that one. I still laughed.

  • nedro

    Is this the guy who gave up A-rod’s game-winner in that epic Burnett/Beckett extra-innings showdown back in ’09? What a goat.

    • Nickel

      I thought that was Junichi(?) Tazawa, but I could be thinking of a different game.

      • Need Pitching

        you are correct

      • johnnybk

        It was tazawa. But most Chinamen do look alike, so I could see the confusion.

      • radnom

        No, I’m pretty sure you’re right. I think that was his debut too.

  • Chad Gaudin the Friendly Ghost

    I guess I have to stop making jokes about the Red Sox picking up our sloppy seconds now.

  • Nathan

    I don’t really see the risk as it’s a minor league deal. If he reverts back to the old Okajima, great…he’ll give the Yankees another lefty option.

    If not, no biggie.