Takashi Saito, 41, was signed to a one-year, $1.75 million contract. Saito has been bothered by injuries for much of his career, including last season. He made only 30 appearances for Milwaukee in 2011 but had a 2.03 ERA and 23 strikeouts in 26 2/3 innings.
Among National League relievers (min. 30 games), his 2.03 ERA ranked 10th.
"He has closed, been a setup man and
is versatile enough to fill any
role," said D-backs' Executive Vice
President and General Manager Kevin Towers.
Saito has gone 21-15 with 84 saves,
a 2.18 ERA (79 ER in 326.0 IP) and a
.199 opponents average with 103
walks and 389 strikeouts in 322
career major league games. In 10
career postseason appearances, he is
1-0 with a 1.69 ERA (2 ER in 10.2
IP) and a .237 opponents average
with nine strikeouts.
Saito, who was selected to the NL
All-Star Team in 2007, ranks fifth
among all relievers since 2006 with
a 2.18 ERA behind only Mike Adams
(1.80), Mariano Rivera (1.98), Billy Wagner (2.11), and Joe Nathan
(2.16). During that span, he also
ranks eighth with a .296 opponents
slugging percentage, 11th with 389
strikeouts, tied for 11th with a
1.03 WHIP, 12th with a .269
opponents on-base percentage and
tied for 14th with a .199 opponents
In 2006, Saito set a Dodger
franchise rookie record with 24
saves and went on to convert 47 of
his first 50 big league save
opportunities, the best save
percentage of any pitcher in major
league history after 50 chances. He
finished eighth in NL Cy Young Award
voting that season.
Saito, a native of Japan, played 14
seasons for Yokohama BayStars in the
Japanese Central League and was a
four-time All-Star (1994, 1996, 1999
and 2001). His 2.18 career ERA is
the best among all Japanese major
league players while his 84 career
saves rank second to Kazuhiro Sasaki
(129). The only Japan-born pitchers
to appear in more games than Saito
(322) are Shigetoshi Hasegawa (517)
and Hideo Nomo (323). He will
become the first player of
Japanese-descent to play for the
--INF Cody Ransom is getting another chance with the Diamondbacks, who re-signed the 35-year-old Ransom to a minor league contract. Ransom belted 27 homers and drove in 92 runs in only 372 at-bats at Triple-A Reno before being added to Arizona's expanded September roster.
In 33 at-bats with the D-backs, Ransom had just five hits, including one homer. Ransom originally signed with the D-backs last January 19, after spending the 2010 season in the Phillies organization.
--RHP Jonathan Albaladejo signed with the D-backs as a member of their 40-man roster.
Albaladejo pitched in Japan last season after appearing in 10 games for the New York Yankees in 2010.
The 29-year-old right-hander is 6-3 with a 4.15 ERA in four major league seasons with the Yankees and Washington Nationals.
--RHPs Joe Saunders and Micah Owings were not tendered arbitration
offers by this week's deadline, making them free agents. The team claims
that both might still be brought back into the fold, but that appears unlikely
with the recent acquisitions of Trevor Cahill, Craig Breslow, and Takashi Saito.
--Chief Guyton, a trusted member of general manager Kevin Towers' inner circle in San Diego, was hired as a pro scout. Guyton served as the Padres' farm director.
ARRIVALS: RHP Takashi Saito (free agent from Brewers), RHP Trevor Cahill (trade with A's), LHP Craig Breslow (trade with A's).
DEPARTURES: RHP Jarrod Parker (traded to A's), OF Collin Cowgill (traded to A's), RHP Ryan Cook (traded to A's).
FREE AGENTS: LHP Zack Duke, RHP Jason Marquis, 1B/LF Xavier Nady, LHP Joe Saunders, RHP Micah Owings.
Duke, Nady, and Marquis became free agents after the season. Saunders and Owings were non-tendered
ARBITRATION-ELIGIBLE: C Miguel Montero, 3B Ryan Roberts, RHP Brad Ziegler.
The D-backs are exploring a long-term extension for Montero, who had
a career year in 2011 and has one year of arbitration eligibility remaining.
"We've done it before," one D-backs official said when asked about the
possibility. Roberts was a valuable component after winning the third base job
in early 2011. While his salary will jump as a Super-2 player eligible for
arbitration, he will be back. Sidearmer Ziegler added another angle to the Arizona bullpen, and he also will return.
DIAMOND STAT: 2.18 -- Career ERA in the majors for Takashi Saito.
QUOTABLE: "Takashi brings a great veteran presence to our bullpen and strengthens an area where we already feel very good about our options." -- D-backs general manager Kevin Towers.
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