Another day, another Red Sox signing. Since Christmas, Theo Epstein has added Josh Bard, Brad Penny, Rocco Baldelli, John Smoltz, Mark Kotsay and Takashi Saito.
Saito is an interesting one, considering the dominant numbers he has put up during his three years in the Majors. Obviously health was a concern in 2008, which is why the Dodgers non-tendered him.
But the Red Sox now have a ton of options in the bullpen. Jonathan Papelbon, Saito, Okajima, Masterson, Manny Delcarmen, Ramon Ramirez, Javier Lopez. All of those arms are of the quality variety.
This begs the question: Will there be a trade in the works in which Theo can move one of these relievers to help fill another need on the club? It certainly appears that way. Don’t be surprised if one of these setup men is part of a package in a trade for a catcher. The Red Sox certainly have depth, that has become abundantly clear.
Saito will be 39 in February, which of course raises questions about his future durability. But in the context of this year, if he can stay healthy, it gives the Sox great insurance should Jonathan Papelbon need some rest during the season.
By the end of the ALCS, Papelbon admitted that he was just about spent. With the addition of Saito, and the continued emergence of Masterson, perhaps they can be even more conservative with him then they’ve been since the arm scare of 2006.