Red Sox pick up Japanese reliever Shunsuke Watanabe, release righty Chris Carpenter


It’s a night of subtle tweaks for the Red Sox, who have announced a minor league agreement with Japanese reliever Shunsuke Watanabe and the release of Chris Carpenter — the lesser-known one — who will go pitch for NPB’s Yakult Swallows.

Watanabe is an extreme submariner coming off a poor season in Japan and seems doubtful to make Boston’s Opening Day roster. He turned 37 years old in August and had a brutal 4.8 career K/9 in NPB.

Carpenter, a former third-round pick, was part of Boston’s return from the Cubs for Theo Epstein. The 27-year-old right-hander has a 5.17 ERA in 15 2/3 career major league innings and posted a 4.96 ERA this past summer at Triple-A Pawtucket.

A’s sign Brett Anderson to a minor league deal

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Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that the Oakland Athletics have agreed to a minor league contract with Brett Anderson.

Anderson, you’ll likely recall, began his major league career with the Athletics in 2009 and pitched for Oakland through 2013. He had some success in Oakland, being named the Opening Day starter one year, but injuries have mounted for the lefty over the years. The last season in which he was healthy all year was 2015 in which he made 31 starts for the Dodgers. Last year he posted a 6.34 ERA and a 38/21 K/BB ratio in 55.1 innings across 13 starts for the Cubs and Blue Jays.

Organizational depth at worst, a veteran arm to eat some innings if things go well and a potential midseason trade chip if he enjoys a resurgence of health and a little bit of luck.