Free agent target Hirokazu Sawamura has shades of a former Red Sox All-Star from Japan

Tomase: Tones of previous Sox All-Star in prospective bullpen finalizing? initially appeared on NBC Sports Boston

Fourteen years earlier, the Red Sox made a finalizing out of Japan that hardly triggered a ripple when they tattooed reducer Hideki Okajima to a two-year offer.

Signed to far less excitement than well known compatriot Daisuke Matsuzaka, Okajima however made a large influence on the 2007 World Series champs, reaching the All-Star Video game by means of the fan vote and publishing a 2.22 AGE in 66 video games.

The 31-year-old completed sixth in the Novice of the Year ballot and went on to a strong five-year profession in Boston, where he provided a 2.11 AGE in 17 postseason looks.

Almost 15 years later on, the Red Sox appear poised to sign another under-the-radar veteran reducer out of Japan, according to several reports overseas, along with one from MassLive. They can just hope that Hirokazu Sawamura provides anywhere near the production of Okajima.

There are resemblances beyond their birth place. Pitching mostly in relief throughout his ten years in Japan, the 32-year-old Sawamura is 52-56 with a 2.82 AGE and 75 conserves. He has actually set out 8.2 batters per 9 innings, and he whiffed 29 in 21 innings after being traded from Yomiuri to Chiba Lotte.

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At 6-foot, 212-pounds, Sawamura includes a fastball that struck 99 miles per hour in 2015, along with an impressive split-fingered fastball that Baseball America states signs up in the low-90s. Due to the fact that he’s a totally free representative, he need not be published like other Japanese stars and can sign with anybody he likes.

If he’s brought into the fold, he’ll sign up with a revamped bullpen competitors that consists of just recently gotten right-hander Adam Ottavino, right-handed swingman Matt Andriese, Guideline 5 choice Garrett Whitlock and a series of lower-tier finalizings.

One location to view is better. While Okajima served nearly solely as a setup male throughout his Red Sox profession, Sawamura has closing experience. He conserved 36 video games with Yomiuri in 2015 and 37 in 2016 prior to nerve issues in his shoulder that might have traced to a stopped working acupuncture treatment restricted him to 9 looks in 2017.

He muddled along till being revitalized by the trade to Chiba Lotte, where he published a 1.71 AGE in 22 video games.

With previous better Brandon Worker dealt away at last year’s trade due date, the Red Sox will get in spring training with a competitors at better. Veteran Matt Barnes is one possibility to presume the function, along with Ottavino.

Maybe Sawamura will sign up with the competitors as a dark horse prospect, making an effect like his compatriot Okajima did almost 15 years earlier.

Jobber Wiki author Frank Long contributed to this report.