Saito garners interest from eight teams

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Thumbnail image for takashi saito.jpgEight teams, including the White Sox, Cubs, Braves and Mets, have interest in free agent Takashi Saito, according to a Sponichi report passed along by Patrick Newman of NPB Tracker.



Saito, who turns 40 in February,
posted a 2.42 ERA, 1.35 WHIP and 52/25 K/BB ratio in 55 2/3 innings
with the Red Sox in 2009. He signed an incentive-laden contract last
January coming back from a torn elbow ligament (without undergoing
surgery), but the Red Sox declined his $6 million option by releasing
him last month.




While he’s still a fine reliever,
capable of eighth or ninth-inning duties, Saito’s peripherals have been
headed in the wrong direction since his debut in 2006:




2006: 12.9 K/9, 2.64 BB/9, 0.34 HR/9

2007: 10.91 K/9, 1.82 BB/9, 0.70 HR/9

2008: 11.49 K/9, 3.06 BB/9, 0.19 HR/9

2009: 8.41 K/9, 4.04 BB/9, 0.97 HR/9



There’s no shortage of younger late-inning
relievers available this winter, so while the early interest is strong, the veteran right-hander is wading
into some uncertain waters.

The Angels to lower the right field wall

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The Los Angeles Angels announced today that they will lower the right field wall at Angel Stadium from 18 feet to eight feet.

The stated reason: to make room for a new out-of-town scoreboard and “philosophical changes.” Obviously, though, helping out lefty power hitters is on the agenda too. As it was, Angel Stadium was in the bottom ten of all parks in allowing homers for lefties.

One of their own lefties is Kole Calhoun, who is a pull hitter. Another one could be Shohei Ohtani, who is a lefty hitter. Although, as a righty pitcher, that could harm him against opposing lefty batters. I’m assuming, though, that the Angels ran a bunch of numbers to establish that this move helps them more than it hurts them, or else they wouldn’t be doing it.