Here’s the first thing you need to know: His name is pronounced “sue-YO-she WAH-dah”
It’s probably also good to know that Wada, 30, was 107-61 with a 3.13 ERA and 1,329 strikeouts in 210 career games and 1,444 2/3 innings over nine seasons with the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks of the Japanese Pacific League. In his 52 starts over the last two seasons, Wada is 33-13 with a 2.29 ERA, 95 walks, 337 strikeouts and 18 home runs allowed in 354 innings.
More from the Orioles’ press release:
Wada was named the 2003 Pacific League Rookie of the Year when he went 14-5 with a 3.38 ERA (189.0IP, 71ER) in 26 games and was named to the Nippon Professional Baseball All-Star Team in 2003, 2004, 2010 and 2011. In 2010, he was named the NPB Most Valuable Player, as he led the league with 17 wins, and on Aug. 3, 2011, he became the fastest NPB left-hander to win 100 games.
Wada pitched in the 2004 and 2008 Olympic Games, winning a bronze medal in the 2004 Athens Games, and also helped Japan to the 2006 World Baseball Classic championship.
I’m not sure where he’ll fit in the rotation and how it will turn out, but I like the signing. It’s another foray into the Asian market and he provides more pitching depth, which the Orioles have sorely lacked. He’s also not breaking the bank, though the Orioles are committing $8.15 million over two years. That’s not chump change.
As expected, the Orioles passed on Yu Darvish. Jon Heyman tweeted last night that one team’s bid might have been “north” of $50 million.That’s just for the right to negotiate with Darvish.
The Orioles weren’t going to commit that much money, including whatever it takes to sign him, so why submit a bid that they knew would be trumped? That’s false hustle. That’s eye wash. I don’t see the point.
If they were going to make a bold financial commitment to a pitcher, they should have gone after Mark Buehrle or C.J. Wilson. I’d try to talk Roy Oswalt into taking my money. At least they have track records in the majors.
Darvish might be a future Cy Young winner. Or he might be Kei Igawa.
Add me to the list of people who thinks Martin Prado makes sense for the Orioles.
The Orioles and Braves reportedly have engaged in trade talks, and Prado would be a good fit because he’s played every infield position - though only two games at shortstop - and also can play the outfield (103 games in left, one in right.)
If manager Buck Showalter wants to use Robert Andino in a super utility role and is concerned about Brian Roberts’ availability next season, the Orioles should bring in a player who can start at second base or move around if he’s not needed there.
Prado is from Venezuela. Maybe he could help them open the door to that market. He must know the password.
The Orioles also are rumored to have interest in Braves pitcher Jair Jurrjens and Taiwanese left-hander Chen Wei-Yin, though executive vice president Dan Duquette seriously downplayed Chen when I spoke with him Tuesday night.
The Orioles are clearly focused on their rotation, which makes me wonder whether they’ve decided to keep Jim Johnson in the back end of their bullpen. That seems to be the preference.
Right now, you could construct a rotation of Wada, Jeremy Guthrie, Tommy Hunter, Jake Arrieta and Zach Britton. The Orioles traded for left-hander Dana Eveland. Brian Matusz and Chris Tillman remain in the organization. Duquette told me that he thinks Brad Bergesen can be a successful major league starter. And he might not be done acquiring starters, either through trade or free agency.
Matusz and Tillman could begin next season in Triple-A Norfolk’s rotation. Bergesen is out of options and might wind up in long relief.
There’s plenty of time to sort through it all and hand out assignments. In the meantime, we’ll get to know Wada later today. And I’ll resist writing “Wada deal.”
I’ll probably resist.