Tuesday, November 20, 2007

The Bullpen Just Got Better

GM Mark Shapiro does his best within the limits of his market to add the best possible players at the best possible price. He may just have snagged himself a top flight under the radar reliever from Japan. Shapiro announced today the Indians have signed Masahide Kobayashi to a two year contract, with a team option for a third. Terms were not disclosed.

The closer of the Chiba Lotte Marines in Japan, Kobayashi saved at least 20 games in each of the last seven seasons, and 227 saves and a 2.79 ERA for his career. He will be put in the back of the bullpen with setup men Rafael Betancourt and Rafael Perez, giving even more depth to one of the better outfits in baseball. Shapiro was extremely excited: "The signing of Masa Kobayashi marks the first contract ever signed by a Japanese professional baseball player into the Cleveland Indians franchise and, more importantly, accomplishes one of our primary offseason goals of adding depth to the back end of our bullpen. Masa has pitched and succeeded at the highest level and on the biggest stage of the Japanese Professional Baseball League. He should be a valuable addition to our bullpen."

More importantly, he should be able to save some wear and tear on the two Raffy's who seemingly pitched every time the Indians had a lead late in games. Let's hope he is more Hideki Okajima than the failed White Sox closer of a few years ago Takashi Shinjo.

1 comment:

davemanddd said...

takashi shinjo??? i think who you meant to say was shingo takatsu, the former failed closer of the white sox. he was the guy who had a blown save against the indians when he gave up 3 straight solo home runs to the tribe in the top of the 9th inning in an early 2005 game which helped the tribe to at least salvage one win in a 2-1 series loss. i believe the tribe entered the 9th in that game down 3-0, tied it up off takatsu by hitting the aforementioned 3 solo shots, one each by coco crisp, victor martinez and casey blake before eventually winning the game in extra innings on an aaron boone double, one of 4 hits he had in that game. too bad those were the only 4 hits that were of any real significance in boone's entire tribe career, but that's beside the point. hee-hee!!! no but seriously though, takatsu's career took a major downswing that season thanx in large part to the tribe as he went from being the closer for the sox, to being downgraded to mop-up duty in their bullpen, eventually traded to the mets and out of baseball altogether in less than a year. lord knows i don't want to see anything even remotely close to that happening to the tribe and kobayashi. i would just as soon see him depose joe-bo as the closer and go on to have such an effect that kaz sasaki had on the mariners when they had set the record for victories in a season with 116 wins. wouldn't that be sweet??? we can only hope.