Pull out your old episodes of M*A*S*H*, the O’s are tapping into the Asian market…! The team has scheduled a news conference at 4 PM this afternoon where they’ll introduce pitcher Tsuyoshi Wada, formerly of the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks in the Japanese Pacific League. Wada, a 30-year old, comes to the Orioles after nine seasons with the Hawks, where he compiled a 107-61 record with an ERA of 3.13 and 1,329 strikeouts. Wada has reportedly signed a two-year contract worth $8.15 million.
Many people are hoping that this is the signing that opens up the Asian market to the orange and black. That remains to be seen, however it’s certainly a step in the right direction. The Orioles are also apparently out of sweepstakes for Yu Darvish, a much more highly touted pitcher out of Japan. Many fans might question this in terms of whether or not the O’s are truly committed to signing Asian players, or more importantly quality Asian players. Let’s put it this way; Darvish is one of these players who’s requiring a “royalty” fee from teams just for the luxury of negotiating with him. Would you pay for the right to offer a contract to someone? Speaking for myself and for most right-thinking Americans, I’d say no.
If you question whether or not Wada is worth the money, look at his stats that I stated above. Without a doubt pitching in Japan and pitching in the USA is a different game. However on a team that’s struggled to keep up in games, a 3.13 ERA is a welcome addition. Furthermore, over his last two years in Japan Wada posted an ERA of 2.29. Most importantly of all, this will add depth to a pitching staff that’s in desperate need of it. Wada isn’t a #1 starter by any means, but he could very well be a #3 or #4 starter. All of that remains to be seen when we get into spring training. For what it’s worth, the Washington Nationals and Pittsburgh Pirates also expressed interested in Wada. You can catch Wada’s presser this afternoon at 4 PM on MASN.
Follow me on Twitter @DomenicVadala