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Red Sox expected to non-tender reliever Hideki Okajima

Dec 2, 2010, 10:47 AM EDT

Hideki Okajima

Boston is expected to non-tender reliever Hideki Okajima before tonight’s deadline, according to Gordon Edes of ESPNBoston.com.

Okajima proved to be an excellent investment for the Red Sox, who signed him out of Japan in November of 2006 for just $2.5 million. He quickly emerged as one of the league’s top setup men, going 12-4 with a 2.72 ERA and 176/62 K/BB ratio in 192 innings from 2007-2009.

He struggled mightily for most of this year and entered August with a 5.73 ERA, but allowed just two runs in his final 16 appearances to finish with a respectable 4.50 mark in 46 innings overall.

Okajima also managed to turn the Boston media completely against him by often refusing to speak to them following poor outings. Along those lines, this morning Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe–who has been one of Okajima’s harshest critics, to say the least–called his rumored non-tendering “addition by subtraction.”

He still looks capable of being a solid setup man, but getting out of Boston is probably best for Okajima at this point and it’s tough to blame the Red Sox for cutting bait rather than paying him approximately $3.5 million in 2011.

  1. Detroit Michael - Dec 2, 2010 at 11:19 AM

    Even in those last 16 outings, Okajima had 9 strikeouts to 5 walks in 13.7 IP. If that’s his best streak of the season, it’s not much of an argument for spending real dollars to keep or acquire him.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Dec 2, 2010 at 11:33 AM

      Might work out as a good LOOGY, triple slash line of .214/.271/.320 with a 3.20 K/BB ratio.

      • Detroit Michael - Dec 2, 2010 at 3:37 PM

        Given the small sample size of a reliever’s workload, heck, he might bounce back and be genuinely useful too. I’m just saying that right now his demonstrated skills are fairly fungible, the kind of guy who one signs in February to fill out one’s bullpen.

  2. BC - Dec 2, 2010 at 11:37 AM

    He was terrible this past year. That, and he’s not exactly a spring chicken. I’d dump him.

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