Danny Knobler from CBS Sportsline has the scoop (hat tip: Zeus12888):
The Braves are close to signing free-agent reliever Takashi Saito to a one-year contract, CBSSports.com has learned.
The deal, which should be announced later this afternoon, is expected to be for about $3 million.
Wow! And Fantastic! We really are moving quickly.
Saito would be the right-handed setup man to the recently signed (yesterday) closer Billy Wagner -- an 8th and 9th inning combo that is almost 80 years old between them. Saito came to the States late, but he has excelled each of the four years he's been here as either a closer or setup man. While he has been getting a bit more hittable the last couple of years, he remains a strikeout pitcher and an experienced late innings reliever.
Saito is not a type-A or B free agent, so signing him will not cost us anything but money. Both he and Wagner were teammates last year in the Red Sox bullpen... I wonder if there's anyone else we want from that pen. The rumored $3 million seems like a bit much, since he made half of that last year, and no more than $2 million in either of his seasons in LA. Are we being too eager?
It's official, I just got the press release announcing the signing. Good job by Danny Knobler, and good job yesterday by Ken Rosenthal on the Billy Wagner deal. At some point an Atlanta beat writer will break some news. Here is the money quote from Frank Wren on how Saito will be used next year:
"While we primarily expect him to pitch in the eighth inning, this allows us to have another pitcher with 'closer' ability who can compliment Billy Wagner, similar to the depth we had in 2009."
Word. And now to the bat mobile... bad pun.