MLB Rumors: Shocking Braves trade, Red Sox disappointment, Padres’ Japanese swing

  • Padres take a swing on an underrated Japanese star
  • Red Sox reportedly working toward highly disappointing move
  • Braves connected to surprising trade target

Chicago Cubs v Atlanta Braves
Chicago Cubs v Atlanta Braves / Matthew Grimes Jr./Atlanta Braves/GettyImages
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MLB Rumors: Padres sign Japanese reliever Yuki Matsui in smart swing

It's not a great time for the San Diego Padres. The Juan Soto trade is indicative of the organization's financial position and we've seen the moves around the blockbuster deal sending the lefty superstar to the Yankees largely consist of the Friars getting salary off of the books. Soto is gone, so is Trent Grisham, and the free agent duo of Josh Hader and Blake Snell appear as good as gone.

However, this is still a team that has to fill out its roster and, with the likes of Manny Machado, Fernando Tatis Jr. and Xander Bogaerts, among others, still on the roster, try to still compete as well. To do so while being fiscally responsible, it's all about taking the right, calculated swings on the open market. Their latest move appears to qualify as that.

On Saturday night, ESPN insider Jeff Passan reported that the Padres have signed longtime Japanese closer Yuki Matsui to a five-year, $28 million contract.

While that's a relatively long and pricey deal for a reliever in the market as we know it (especially without Hader's new deal and even the forthcoming Jordan Hicks and Hector Neris contracts) for a player with no MLB experience, the upside for this signing in San Diego is massive -- and comes with some built-in protections.

Matsui, despite being just 28 years old, has been pitching in Japan for nearly a decade, accruing more than 230 saves with a 2.40 ERA in his career. While diminutive at 5-foot-8 and not a power pitcher, he's been successful. Moreover, Matsui has opt-outs in years three and four of the deal while an elbow injury would convert the fifth year of the deal into a club option, per Passan.

It might not be the sexiest move, but the caliber of pitcher with experience and the protections that the Padres put into the contract make it a smart move for a club that, frankly, is working uphill this offseason.