The Padres are looking like strong favorites to sign right-hander Kazuhisa Makita, according to Yahoo Sports’ Jeff Passan. Makita is already en route to San Diego for a physical and has until 5 PM ET on January 10 to finalize a contract with the club.
Makita, 33, completed his seventh straight campaign with the Saitama Seibu Lions of Japan Pacific League in 2017. The submariner produced his worst numbers since he transitioned to a swingman role in 2016, though that isn’t saying much — he finished the 2017 season with a remarkable 2.30 ERA, 0.7 BB/9 and 5.0 SO/9 in 62 2/3 innings. While he’s not a strikeout wizard by any stretch of the imagination, he proved himself more than capable of handling MLB batters back in 2014, combining with Takahiro Norimoto, Yuki Nishi and Yuji Nishino to no-hit a lineup of MLB All-Stars during the Japan Series.
A report from Yahoo Japan suggests that the Padres aren’t the only team in the mix for Makita’s services, listing the Rangers as another possible landing spot for the veteran righty. No other bids have been publicized yet, however, and it seems like a foregone conclusion that Makita will end up in San Diego by the January 10 deadline.