Junichi Tazawa Officially Signs with the Red Sox

Tazawa and Theo.jpg

The Red Sox have added a third Japanese player to their pitchers. Junichi Tazawa and the Boston Red Sox officially announced the signing today. There can be a bit of speculation with this acquisition, the biggest question being: Why the Red Sox? The Braves, Mariners and Rangers (who reportedly offered more to the Japanese righty than the Red Sox) also had interest in signing the amateur who asked the Japanese pro-baseball division not to sign him. Luckily, this is NOT a rhetorical question!! Junichi Tazawa gave three specific reasons as to why he chose the Red Sox. 

Junichi Tazawa.jpg

1. He likes our development program. He’s definitely right in liking it, look at the players we’ve produced from our farm system: Jacoby Ellsbury, Jed Lowrie, Kevin Youkilis, Jonathan Papelbon, Dustin Pedroia, etc. 

Hideki Okajima.jpg

2. Japanese players, staff, and speakers are all part of the Red Sox organization. The good thing about the Japanese pitchers, who have had huge success with the Red Sox, is that they’re pitchers, so they can help Tazawa out since he only played in Japan’s industrial league. 
3. The Red Sox were the first team to scout him. Hey, first come first served right? Apparently, the Red Sox keep a close eye on the Japanese market. Theo has the intentions of beginning Tazawa in Double-AA Portland, and seeing how he does in Spring Training. Theo first saw Tazawa in person last November, so they’ve been keeping an eye on him for the past thirteen months. Tazawa’s deal is not as substantial as Dice-K’s outrageous $103.1 million, Tazawa’s deal is for 3 years, at $3.3 million.  Tazawa is only 22, so if Theo and the international scouts of the Red Sox that landed Matsuzaka and Okajima see potential in him, there’s definitely something there. 
His fastball has increased in velocity, now ranging between 91-94 mph. according to Epstein. He also has great command, and can spot fastballs in all parts of the strike zone. *Tangent time* Speaking of the strike zone, does anyone know how the “BK Hot Zone” works? How do they get those stats? It’s crazy! 
Plus Red Sox fans, think how fun it is to say his name! Junichi Tazawa! TaZAwa. 
Two great days in a row for the Red Sox. 

Papelbon 2.jpg

Hopefully Youkilis and Papelbon will get extensions in their contracts since they are eligible for arbitration. It’d be great to have them be a part of the Red Sox organization for many years to come. And of course we have our Varitek and Lowell wishes, but how many times have I put that in a blog post? 


  1. Jane Heller

    “How many times have I put that in a blog post?” LOL, Elizabeth. How many times have I written about the Yankees getting CC Sabathia? At some point, all these things will be resolved and we’ll have to blog about other subjects!


  2. juliasrants

    Elizabeth – if we say it often enough it will come true – resign Tek & don’t trade Lowell! I think having Dice-K with the Red Sox wil help us with the Japanese players. Congrats on being on the leading bloggers list!


  3. hardballblog

    I have heard a lot of good things about Tazawa. Some of them were confusing though. They say he can throw as hard as 97. I have also read that he usually only throws as hard as 90. He usually stays in the 88-90 range. Doesn’t seem right to me so we will see when he starts pitching.

  4. jimmy27nyy


    Not much going on with the Yankees, so, at least, the Red Sox are providing some baseball action to read about … The Tazawa signing looks like a good move by the Red Sox … [Yeah, “Ta-ZA-wa”, is a fun name to say] … A three year / $3.3 Million deal for a 22 year-old pitching prospect is a smart move by Boston … Like you said, “Japanese players, staff, and speakers are all part of the Red Sox organization” … So, it should make it easier for Junichi Tazawa to adjust to playing in the U.S.A. … The Winter Baseball Meetings are only two days away; hopefully, we’ll see a lot of baseball action next week !!! … Take care, Elizabeth !!! … Jimmy [27NYY]


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