Backing Up The Bullpen

Ty JacksonContributor IJanuary 10, 2009

The Boston Red Sox used their bullpen to dominate in 2007. In 2008 the lineup of Manny Delcarmen, Hideki Okajimia, and Jonathan Papelbon stopped working. Time after time the late innings grew harder and harder to complete.

In the 2008 offseason the Red Sox started off by trading outfielder Coco Crisp to the Kansas City Royals for excellent reliever Ramon Ramirez. About a week after New Years they acquired John Smoltz, who is likely to pitch out of the pen. About a day later the Red Sox signed the biggest name of them all: Takashi Saito.

Saito is a 38-year old pitcher who has 14 years of experience in Japan, including four all-star appearances. In 2006 he pitched his first game for the LA Dodgers and soon after became closer. In 2007 he was named to his first National All-Star team and August Closer of the Month. 2008 saw injuries and only 45 appearances.

The Red Sox have Saito for one-year with a club option for 2010. His deal is worth $1.5-2.5 million with incentives that add up to $7 million. This pickup could become one of their best in the offseason and return them to world series glory.