Red Sox did well by signing Tazawa 

December, 1, 2008
Junichi Tazawa has now reportedly signed a term sheet with Boston, meaning that as long as he passes a physical he'll be a member of the Red Sox. Tazawa apparently turned down more money -- perhaps significantly more, depending on where Boston's final offer landed between $3 million and $6 million -- from other clubs, signing with the team that had been scouting him as early as last year.

Signing Tazawa was a no-brainer for the Red Sox. If he was an American college player eligible for next June's draft, at worst he'd be taken in the top two rounds, and I think it's likely he'd go in the back half or third of the first round. Boston has to burn a spot on its 40-man roster on him, but they had two spots open already and have at least two or three players they could outright if they need the room.

He's not major-league ready, having only pitched in an amateur industrial league in Japan, but he should be ready to start in Double-A and could see the majors in late 2009 if all goes well. His splitter (or split-change) should give minor-league hitters nightmares, but he'll need to work on his fastball command. If his breaking ball doesn't come along, he projects more as a plus two-pitch reliever than as a starter.