Did an unexpected relief option for the Los Angeles Dodgers just hit the market? On Sunday, it was announced the Boston Red Sox had designated Hirokazu Sawamura for assignment in a bit of a roster shakeup.
With the Red Sox continuing to spiral while their Wild Card chances wither away, it made sense for Boston, especially if they had no plans to exercise the right-hander’s $3 million team option for the 2023 season. Not sure why they wouldn’t, but that’s also not our problem.
Sawamura represents an intriguing potential acquisition for LA, though, assuming he clears waivers or if he falls to the Dodgers in the claims process and they opt to take a chance. Any and all positive bullpen help is appreciated, right?
The 34-year-old’s 2022 split stats are worth a look. The Red Sox more than likely cut the cord here because of his lack of success at Fenway Park, which is a difficult place to pitch even under the most favorable circumstances. But Sawamura can benefit a contender (especially one that fully avoids Fenway).
- Hirokazu Sawamura home stats – 5.83 ERA and 1.81 WHIP in 29.1 innings
- Hirokazu Sawamura away stats – 0.84 ERA and 0.89 WHIP in 21.1 innings
Should the Dodgers take a chance on former Red Sox reliever Hirokazu Sawamura?
You just never know what the Dodgers might do. Manager Dave Roberts even relented on Craig Kimbrel potentially not closing games when October rolls around, which could open the door for some bullpen alterations.
Bringing in Sawamura might be tough, though. The Dodgers have all of Blake Treinen, Tommy Kahnle and Victor Gonzalez on the mend at the moment at Triple-A. If they plan to make room for those relievers, that means three roster spots will have to be cleared. You’d imagine Caleb Ferguson and Phil Bickford would be among those to go … but the conversation after that gets a bit difficult.
In previous months/years, though, the Dodgers have had an inclination for taking chances on former Sox relievers. Joe Kelly. Hansel Robles. Craig Kimbrel. Bringing Sawamura in as Treinen, Kahnle and Gonzalez get up to speed wouldn’t be a bad solution if LA thinks the veteran can out-perform someone like Bickford over the next few weeks.
Then again, this might not even be a consideration for LA. After all, Sawamura had much better numbers at Fenway Park last year and was even more dreadful on the road (eight home runs!). His profile hardly makes sense.
If Andrew Friedman wants to ride a potential hot hand outside of one of the most hitter-friendly parks in MLB, this wouldn’t be a bad option to bring in now and consider for the 2023 season when the Dodgers are slated to lose a lot of relievers to free agency.