Friday, May 3, 2013

One-Year Wonder Pt. 18: Takashi Saito

Every once in awhile, the Red Sox pick up a veteran player for a year, or just the stretch run that was a star at one point that I become fascinated with. It's a player that is basically only a role player at that point in their career, but may show flashes of their old brilliance. It's so unusual to see them as a member of the Red Sox, that I try to find as many of their cards as possible. This series will be about some of those players.
In 2009 Boston had four Japanese pitchers on their staff.  Holdovers Daisuke Matsuzaka and Hideki Okajima were joined by rookie Junichi Tazawa and veteran free agent Takashi Saito.  Saito arguably had the best year of the four.  The former Dodgers closer joined the Red Sox on a one-year contract and provided a reliable arm out of the bullpen.

Saito pitched in 56 games for the Red Sox and had a 2.43 ERA and a 3-3 record.  He struck out 52 in 55.1 innings with 25 walks.  He picked up two saves but he was not needed as a closer because of the presence of Jonathan Papelbon.

I had hoped that Saito would return in 2010 but he got a good offer to go to the Braves as a free agent.  There are not many cards that show Saito with the Red Sox, but I make my best effort to get the ones I see.

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