Hideki Okajima began the season at Triple-A, got called up to rejoin the Red Sox’s bullpen in mid-April, was designated for assignment last week, and now has accepted an assignment back to Triple-A after passing through waivers unclaimed.
And all that has happened after he re-signed with the Red Sox this offseason for $1.75 million.
That contract likely explains why Okajima cleared waivers, although certainly he’s also pitched poorly enough to scare teams off at a fraction of the cost.
Okajima finished strong last season after a terrible first half and has allowed opponents to bat just .233 with a .643 OPS in 8.1 innings so far this season, but that comes with a 6/5 K/BB ratio and he has a 4.47 ERA in 54 innings dating back to last year.
He still looks capable of being a useful middle reliever, but apparently that isn’t worth $1 million to anyone.
Houston made one unexpected change to the roster for the ALDS, leaving off veteran reliever Chad Qualls.
Qualls warmed up but never appeared in the Wild Card game win over the Yankees and during the regular season the 36-year-old right-hander logged 49 innings with a 4.38 ERA and 46/9 K/BB ratio. Qualls was on the Astros’ last playoff team in 2005.
Utility man Jonathan Villar has been bumped off the roster in favor of outfielder Preston Tucker, as the Astros opted for a good left-handed bat off the bench versus the Royals rather than Villar’s speed.
It’s been a tough season for the mythology of Jonny Gomes‘ veteran clubhouse savior reputation.
First he signed with the rebuilding Braves and performed poorly while Atlanta fell apart after a surprisingly decent start. Then he was traded to the Royals, for whom he played just 12 games and hit .167. And now Kansas City has left Gomes off the ALDS roster.
It makes sense, though. Gomes’ only real use to the Royals would be as a pinch-hitter versus left-handed pitching, but manager Ned Yost rarely pinch-hits and will no doubt be more willing to use 25th man Terrance Gore as a pinch-runner in the late innings.
Beyond that, not many surprises on the Royals’ roster for their series against the Astros. They went with 11 pitchers, which means both Chris Young and Kris Medlen are on the roster. Jeremy Guthrie is not.