At the age of 40, Japanese right-handed reliever Takashi Saito gave the Atlanta Braves a very solid season in a year in which they desperately wanted to win it all, knowing that legendary manager Bobby Cox was going to retire after the season ended.
In his sixth Major League Baseball season, Saito posted the following stats:
Games played: 56
41 hits in 54 IP
It's a wonder, then, that the Braves released the dependable reliever.
Maybe it was because he will be 41 years of age heading into the 2011 season, but why wouldn't you take that chance of another great pitching season from a veteran guy?
That's no excuse to release Saito.
With the questionable decision by the Braves front office, it certainly is a great chance for the other 29 MLB teams to get him through free agency.
Saito can pitch for a contender like the Boston Red Sox or just be a veteran presence on a young squad such as the Pittsburgh Pirates.
As his value appears to have decreased, he also won't be as expensive as the $3.2 million salary he got in 2010.
But this still raises the question: why did Atlanta let go of him? Are they just planning to rebuild, since even with Bobby Cox managing they could not win a world championship?