Looking to add one last experienced option for their bullpen, the Oakland Athletics are reportedly nearing a deal with left-hander Hideki Okajima, according to Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle. It is unknown at this point in time whether the two sides have been discussing a Major League (which may be unlikely given the current makeup of the team’s 25-man roster) or Minor League contract or what the financial specifics may entail.
The 37 year old Okajima spent the 2007-2011 seasons with the Boston Red Sox, appearing in 261 games in that span. He holds a career record of 17-8 with an ERA of 3.11 over 246.1 innings, adding a 1.246 WHIP and 7.9 K/9. He was a key piece of the Red Sox bullpen during that stretch, particularly the first four seasons of his tenure there, including helping the Sox win the World Series in 2007. Left-handed hitters have been held to a .216/.277/.323 line against Okajima in his career.
Okajima spent the 2012 season pitching at home in Japan for the Fukuoka Softbank Hawks. He threw 47.2 innings on the year posting a 0.94 ERA, 1.1 BB/9, and 6.8 K/9. Fukuoka released him from his contract so that he could pursue an opportunity to return to the US.