Red Sox finalize one-year deal with Hideki Okajima

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Last week Hideki Okajima was said to be close to re-signing with the Red Sox and now Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com reports that the two sides have finalized a one-year contract worth $1.75 million in guaranteed money and another $550,000 in potential incentives.

Boston non-tendered Okajima last month rather than pay what likely would have been around $3.5 million via the arbitration process, so in re-signing him the Red Sox probably end up saving at least $1.5 million.

Okajima had a miserable first half that included talk of being homesick and criticism from local reporters who felt he was dodging media responsibilities, but he allowed just two runs in his final 16 appearances to finish with a reasonable 4.50 ERA in 46 innings overall and will fill a left-handed setup role again in 2011.

Kyle Schwarber: Before and After

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It’s always a bit deceiving to see offseason workout photos of players who are said to be getting into great shape because guys in those pics are wearing compression shirts and crap and we’re used to seeing them in baseball uniforms. I remember pics of Miguel Cabrera and David Ortiz in the offseason looking svelte, only to see them in uniform come spring as their familiar beefy selves. Uniforms are often loose and billowy and the players wear  a couple of layers when they’re suited up, so at least visually speaking it’s better to compare apples to apples.

Which brings us to Kyle Schwarber. All offseason long we’ve been getting reports about Schwarber working out, losing weight and, of course, getting into The Best Shape of His Life. And some of those pics have definitely shown a young man who has cut fat and gotten lean. Good for him!

Let’s see how that translates to Schwarber in uniform. Here is is at spring training last year:

MESA, AZ – FEBRUARY 21: Kyle Schwarber #12 of the Chicago Cubs poses during Chicago Cubs Photo Day on February 21, 2017 in Mesa, Arizona. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

 

Here he is toward the end of last season:

CHICAGO, IL – SEPTEMBER 09: at Wrigley Field on September 9, 2017 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

And here he is now:

MESA, AZ – FEBRUARY 20: Kyle Schwarber #12 of the Chicago Cubs poses during Chicago Cubs Photo Day on February 20, 2018 in Mesa, Arizona. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

 

Nice goin’, kid.