The Boston Red Sox‘s pitching staff was a disaster last season but they did discover that Kenley Jansen and Chris Martin make a deadly one-two punch in the later innings. Now Boston reportedly is showing interest in adding another devastating high-leverage reliever to the mix.
The Red Sox, New York Yankees and Chicago Cubs are among nine total teams who were in attendance to scout Japanese closer Yuki Matsui last month according to Yahoo Japan. The San Diego Padres also have been involved.
Matsui is soon to become one of the top international free agents on the market given his incredible resume.
The 27-year-old had a 1.57 ERA with a 72-to-13 strikeout-to-walk ratio and 0.89 WHIP in 57 1/3 innings this season for the Rakuten Golden Eagles of the Nippon Professional Baseball League.
Matsui was the youngest player in NPB history to record 200 saves back in April, and has continued to add to his totals. He has a career 2.40 ERA with 236 saves in 501 appearances across 10 seasons.
Entering his prime, the southpaw would be a perfect addition to the back of the bullpen alongside the aforementioned power duo, Josh Winckowski and others. Matsui features a mid-90s fastball that can get up to 96 mph with a plus slider that he’s used to produce a 32% strikeout rate.
Starting pitching is the Red Sox’s top priority but they could also use another high-end arm to add to the bullpen. Matsui would be a cost-effective option with elite upside while also ensuring that Boston has a reliever with closing experience to aid Jansen — who has been semi-injury prone as of late and enters his age-36 season.