Tazawa pitched in a Japanese amateur league for the last 4 years before signing with the Red Sox; he asked that Japanese teams not draft him so he could pursue a career in Major League Baseball. This past season in Japan, Tazwa was 13-1 with 5 saves sporting an era of .80 appearing in 21 games.
The word on the street is that Tazawa will start the year in the minor leagues, possibly in Double A affiliate Portland. He's been described as a first round draft pick, so I don't think we should expect him up with the big club anytime soon.
Multiple teams presented offers to the young Japanese pitcher, and the Rangers reportedly offered him more money, however Tazawa was only interested in pitching for the Red Sox. Growing up in Japan it comes as no surprise that he idolizes Daisuke Matsuzaka and would like to pitch with him some day.
Going Further Inside the Monster:
The winter baseball meetings start Monday December 8th; Theo and company are expected to meet with Scott Boras regarding the stable of clients he represents. General Managers and other executives from all 30 major league teams will be in Las Vegas to talk trades and free agents.
The Red Sox offered Jason Varitek arbitration which he is expected to decline in search of a long term deal. If Tek signs with another team the Sox would get a first round pick and sandwich pick between the 1st and 2nd round for losing a grade A free agent.
Tek hit .223 last year and he's a grade A free agent...try and wrap your head around that one.
In case you missed it, ticket prices at Fenway Park for the 2009 will not increase, staying at 2008 prices. Now if they could only do something about the beer prices...