Red Sox paper over cracks of lackluster free agency with trade for Japanese pitcher

The Boston Red Sox failed to add quality starting pitching this past offseason. To paper over the cracks, the Red Sox traded for Japanese right-hander Naoyuki Uwasawa, who had signed a minor league deal with the Tampa Bay Rays.

2024 Dominican Republic Series - Boston Red Sox v Tampa Bay Rays
2024 Dominican Republic Series - Boston Red Sox v Tampa Bay Rays / Bryan Bennett/GettyImages

The Boston Red Sox were very quiet this past offseason, with their only major move being the signing of Lucas Giolito, who is now out for the 2024 season.

Boston had every opportunity to try and sign Jordan Montgomery but chose to pass on the veteran left-hander, failing the patch the holes in their starting rotation.

In desperate need of pitching, the Red Sox made a trade with their AL East rivals, the Tampa Bay Rays. On Wednesday, the team acquired Japanese right-hander Naoyuki Uwasawa.

The 30-year-old was not going to make the Rays Opening Day roster, so the Red Sox took a chance and snagged him. Jeff Passan had the news.

Red Sox trade for Naoyuki Uwasawa

This isn't a blockbuster trade by any means, but the Red Sox have been desperate for pitching for quite some time.

Uwasawa was an overlooked free agent thanks to stars such as Yoshinobu Yamamoto and Shota Imanaga being available. But the right-hander pitched nine years in Japan and is coming off of a solid 2023 season.

The 30-year-old posted a sub-3.00 ERA and also tossed 170 innings last season. Over the course of his career, he owns a 3.42 ERA over 1,367.1 innings pitched.

Spring training was not kind to him. In four games, he went 0-1 and registered a 13.03 ERA over 9.2 innings. fanning nine batters and pitching to a 2.38 WHIP. This likely cost him a chance to be on the Rays Opening Day roster.

The Red Sox will certainly hope that he can replicate his numbers in Japan with more success in the majors. The team has struggled over the past two seasons thanks in large part to their pitching. They went 78-84 and finished in last place in the AL East in 2022 and 2023.

But if Uwasawa can replicate his numbers from Japan, the Red Sox will have made a solid move, one that obviously will fly under the radar, as it is not an earth shattering move by any means.

Time will tell if this move helps the Red Sox in 2024.