The Padres have signed one of Japan's best relief pitchers, Akinori Otsuka, to a two-year contract worth about $1.5 million.
Otsuka, who will be 32 on Opening Day, was not a free agent, but he and his team agreed to post his rights, making him available to the major leagues in exchange for cash compensation.
Akinori Otsuka is the first Japanese Leagues player to join the Padres. The right-hander struck out 110 batters while walking just eight over the last two seasons.
Playing for three different Japanese franchises over the past seven seasons, Otsuka compiled a 2.39 ERA with 474 strikeouts in 350-2/3 innings pitched. During that same span he walked 117 batters.
Used primarily as a closer where he saved 137 over his Japanese career, Otsuka will assume a setup role in the Padres bullpen.
Otsuka was 1-3, 2.09 with 17 saves for the Dragons last season, and was 2-1, 1.28 for Kintetsu in 2002. He led the Pacific League in 35 saves in 1998 when he went 3-2, 2.11. The righthander features a low-90s fastball that has been clocked as high as 95 mph and a good slider.
Check out the latest Padres Prospect Reports at: http://padres.theinsiders.com/3/ProspectReports.html
Padres sign Akinori Otsuka
MadFriars Top Stories
Padres trade Norris, non-tender Ross, othersPadres trade Derek Norris, add to bevy of Single-A pitching prospects, non-tender
MadFriarsYesterday at 4:37 PM
MadFriars' Top 30 - Davey EditionAfter spending most of 2015 trading away prospects, San Diego Padres’ General Manager A.J. Preller reversed course in 2016 restocking the farm system. The Top 10 alone sees only a…
MadFriarsWednesday at 9:17 PM
FanGraphs on the Padres 2017 ProspectsEric Longenhagen is the main prospect analyst for FanGraphs, one of the premier sabermetric sites on the web.
MadFriarsTuesday at 7:24 PM
Future's Game Q&A: Josh NaylorNaylor was acquired midseason in a deal with the Marlins.