Sunday, January 11, 2009

Red Sox Bolster Outfield, Continue Signing Injured Players

The Boston Red Sox have continued their offseason spree of signing injured players to bolster their squad with the addition of former Dodgers closer Takashi Saito.

Saito, when healthy, has impressed in the weak NL West since his arrival in the United States. He will join fellow Japanese pitchers Daisuke Matsuzaka and bullpen mate Hideki Okajima. The Red Sox also added prospect Junichi Tazawa this offseason.

Saito, similar to Sox newcomers Rocco Baldelli, Brad Penny and John Smoltz, is an All-Star caliber talent who is coming off of injury problems.

Possibly because of the injury history of outfielders J.D. Drew and Baldelli, the Red Sox re-signed midseason acquisition Mark Kotsay.

Saito, when healthy, is a very solid bullpen arm who will help stabilize the Red Sox late-inning pitching along with Okajima and right-handed closer Jonathan Papelbon.

Out of the pool of four injured former stars, the Red Sox have to figure someone will get injured, but they are starting to have the kind of star depth that makes it almost irrelevant who plays. If Baldelli goes down, Kotsay steps in. If Penny and Smoltz get hurt, Clay Buchholz and Justin Masterson are available for use. If Saito goes down, Manny Del Carmen or the newly acquired Ramon Ramirez comes in. This team is going to be tough, and they are gambling on very valuable chips, but have a lot of backup in case of trouble. I guess they learned from Ortiz's injury.

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