A tribute to Hideki Okajima, the 17th best reliever of all-time

13 Comments

Well, by one measure anyway.

After failing his physical with the Yankees, Hideki Okajima returned to Japan over the weekend, signing with the Softbank Hawks. He’ll bring with him the 17th best ERA+ among all major league relievers to throw at least 200 innings:

1. Mariano Rivera – 206
2. Takashi Saito – 199
3. Jonathan Papelbon – 197
4. Billy Wagner – 187
5. Mike Adams – 187
6. Joakim Soria – 181
7. Brad Ziegler – 173
8. Francisco Rodriguez – 172
9. Akinori Otsuka – 171
10. Bryan Harvey – 162
11. Peter Moylan – 161
12. Tom Henke – 157
13. Jeff Zimmerman – 152
14. Joe Nathan – 152
15. Alfredo Aceves – 151
16. Rafael Soriano – 149
17. Hideki Okajima – 149
18. Crad Cordero – 149
19. John Wetteland – 149
20. Joel Zumaya – 148

Obviously, that’s a silly list — many relievers not included have had better five-year runs than some of these short-career guys — but it does sort of demonstrate the quality of Okajima’s innings. My favorite Okajima factoid: he gave up a homer to the very first batter he faced (John Buck) in his major league debut and then went 21 2/3 innings without giving up another run

Okajima ended up 17-8 with a 3.11 ERA over 246 1/3 innings in five seasons with the Red Sox. He also had a 2.11 ERA in 21 1/3 innings postseason innings. And he did it all for about $7.5 million, which is less than Soriano will make with the Yankees this year alone.

Sayonara.

Carlos Gomez doesn’t see any need to apologize for walk-off homer celebration

Joseph Garnett Jr. /Getty Images
Leave a comment

On Sunday, Rays outfielder Carlos Gomez hit a walk-off home run against the Twins. He was very fired up about his accomplishment and celebrated:

The Twins have already gotten upset with a player for bunting while Jose Berrios worked on a one-hit shutout. No one on the Twins said anything about Gomez’s antics, but even if they had, Gomez wouldn’t have felt any need to apologize, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports.

Gomez said, “It’s something I know a lot of people are talking good about this, that baseball needs more of that. And some people say it’s not good. If enjoying and having fun in baseball is bad, I’m guilty.”

He added, “I was not trying to disrespect anybody. I was not looking to the other side, not looking at the ball. I was looking at my guys.”

Gomez also said that baseball is “getting a little boring.” His advice? “Enjoy it. Have fun. It’s competition.”

Can’t argue with that.