Not on the playoffs roster and a disappointing regular season, the Boston Red Sox won’t try to re-sign reliever Junichi Tazawa, who becomes a free agent at the end of this season.
Not too long ago Tazawa was the most trusted setup man on the team, posting a 2.62 ERA from 2012 through 2014, including an excellent 5.32 strikeout-to-walk ratio. But the last two seasons have been filled with steep declines, with the numbers saying it best: A 4.15 ERA through 108 innings, and letting more hits slip by him.
The numbers aren’t exactly terrible, but for the 30-year old rightie, it seems last season wasn’t just one-bad year, but more of a entrance to a different phase of his career, and not a promising one. With Tazawa probably looking for more than the $3.3 million he made in 2016, it’ll probably be difficult for him and the Red Sox to make a deal.
Tazawa started the season pretty well but fell apart during the summer, and doing well against lefties alone wasn’t enough. The Red Sox have other options that have done better than him, and are likely to go with them. Once again, a new contract isn’t something that can’t happen, but it’s less and less likely that it will.
Tazawa has been with the Red Sox since 2009. In 302 games he’s pitched for 312 innings, posting a 3.58 ERA and a 1.263 WHIP. He’s struck out 8.9 batters per nine innings, good enough for a 4.34 strikeout-to-walk ratio over his career. He turned 30 in June. He did a very good for the Red Sox in 2013 when they won the World Series, including five appearances in the World Series, not giving up a single run.