According to Mark Bowman of MLB.com, the Braves have made an offer to top Japanese prospect Junichi Tazawa. Tazawa, 22, has a fastball that reportedly hit 97 m.p.h. over the summer in the country's Industrial league. The Braves have been following Tazawa very closely over the past month, and hope to sign the 5-11, 180 pound right hander. Tazawa would probably start in Single-A, but would be put on a fast track to the majors if he can stay healthy and pitch successfully. However, drawing comparisons to Daisuke Matsuzaka at age 22 might get him on a major league roster without experimenting in the minors.
The Cubs, Red Sox, and Mariners are also seriously pursuing Tazawa, who is expected to sign in the next couple of weeks.