Rangers make lucrative offer to Tazawa?

According to a local report, citing a story out of Tokyo, 22-year-old Japanese righthander Junichi Tazawa has received a multi-year contract offer from Texas that exceeds any other offer he has received, both in dollars and length of term.  Tazawa has generated a lot of print lately for his trailblazing decision to pursue a major league career and his success in talking every Japanese baseball club out of selecting him in this year’s draft for that reason.  

Tazawa had reportedly received a $6 million offer from Boston (rumored in different places to be for either two or three years) late last week, and the Red Sox are still thought to be the frontrunners, according to the story.  A couple online sources are reporting this morning that Tazawa has in fact decided to sign with Boston and will do so in December.

Tazawa has also reportedly received offers from Atlanta and Seattle (interest from Philadelphia, Detroit, and Cleveland evidently did not rise to the level of concrete offers), but the Texas offer is apparently more lucrative than any of them, including Boston’s.  

Tazawa’s Nippon Oil manager, Hideaki Okubo, was present at the meeting with the Rangers and was quoted in the Tokyo article to say that Tazawa will make a decision within three or four days, adding: “It seems to me that Tazawa does not necessarily need to meet any further teams.”  Chances are this all means we’ll learn this week that Tazawa is going to Boston.

Think about this, though: as we discussed on Thursday, Boston has Daisuke Matsuzaka under contract through 2012, Josh Beckett under contract through 2010 (assuming the club option is picked up), and Jon Lester under control through 2012, plus Tim Wakefield on a year-to-year option, Justin Masterson thought to be a rotation candidate now that the Red Sox have acquired set-up reliever Ramon Ramirez, and A.J. Burnett and Derek Lowe possibly on the Boston radar as well.  

The addition of Tazawa – even though he’d almost certainly begin his stateside career in the minor leagues – should make Clay Buchholz (and Masterson, Michael Bowden, and Nick Hagadone) more likely to be available in trade.

Stay tuned.

Jamey

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