Takuichi Sawamura is Out of the Red Sox Lineup — Can He Still Return to Japan?
It was a heartbreaking notice right after pitching.
Takuichi Sawamura (34) of the Red Sox took the mound at second base against the Rays on August 29 (Japan time) and gave up three runs on four hits in one inning, tied for his worst outing since joining the majors. He gave up three runs. The pitching was a disappointment from what is expected from him, but after the game a shocking news awaited him.
“Manager Cola called me in and told me I would be removed from the 40-man major league roster,” he said. In effect, I was effectively out of the lineup. I was immediately put on waivers, but no team came forward to take him. Sawamura accepted the demotion to 3A.
Sawamura pitched in 104 games over a two-year period after moving to the majors in 2021. He is a tough guy who is not afraid to pitch in consecutive games and has not been on the injured list even once. Why was Sawamura removed from the disabled list at this point in his career?
Sawamura pitched in 49 games this season, and the team had to pay him $50,000 (about 6.9 million yen) as a piece rate if he pitched in 50 games. If he is released at this time, the team will be able to float the piece fee. Also, if he was released in August, there was a possibility that a team competing for a playoff spot would acquire Sawamura as a waiver.
Sawamura is certainly physically strong and tough, but he is also a risky pitcher. While his strikeout rate is high, his control is poor and he can give up four walks; his WHIP (the number of runners allowed per inning) is over 1.4, and his earned-run average this season is in the low 3s. the low 3-point range. As a relief pitcher, he lacks stability, and his image is that of a gambling pitcher who doesn’t know how he will do until he pitches.
Why has his performance plummeted in his second year in the majors?
Is there a possibility of another promotion to the Majors in the future?
“It will be difficult,” said Sawamura. Sawamura is a power pitcher who pushes with his strength. His pitching style is very simple: straight and falling pitches. This season, when Major League hitters have become accustomed to Sawamura’s style, they have been able to recognize his pitches, and his pitching has been tougher than last season. Due to his declining age, I think it is unlikely that he will be highly regarded unless he develops a new pitching style.
If a promotion to the majors is difficult, a return to the Japanese baseball world is a possibility. However, there is a big obstacle in the way of a return.
Sawamura was a troublemaker in Japan. In October 2012, when he was a member of the Giants, he injured a father and three children in a personal accident. When his allies made errors, he was sometimes blatantly unfaithful to them.
With the current strict compliance policy, few Japanese baseball teams are likely to be aggressive in acquiring Sawamura. If it is difficult for Sawamura to make it to the majors or return to the Japanese baseball world, his only option is to move to Korea or Taiwan.
Sawamura won the rookie of the year award in 2011, and in 20016 he won the most saves in baseball. It would be a shame for him to remain buried in the minors. He is on the brink of regaining his former glory.