Braves Love Those Old Relievers, Sign Saito

A day after signing 38-year-old Billy Wagner to close games in 2010, the Atlanta Braves signed another veteran reliever from the Boston Red Sox.

Yesterday, the Braves signed 39-year-old Takashi Saito to a one-year, $3.2 million contract. Saito can earn an additional $2.3 million in incentives in 2010.

Saito is expected to be the primary set-up man to Wagner in 2010.

Saito has been pretty solid since coming to the United States in 2006. In four years–two with the Los Angeles Dodgers and one with the Red Sox, he has never had an ERA above 2.49.

Saito will set up Wagner in 2010

Is Saito the dominant pitcher now that he was four years ago? No, he is not. This is evident by the fact that his K/9 has gone down the last two years (11.5 to 8.4) and his BB/9 have gone up the last two years (3.1 to 4.0).

Having watching Saito all last year with the Red Sox, I would say he is “wild within the strikezone.” He gets the job done, but I think Braves fans are going to get impatient with how many three ball oounts Saito gets himself into.

It seemed like every batter Saito faced last year had the count 3-1 or 3-2.

Unlike Wagner, Saito will not cost the Braves any compensation as the Red Sox did not offer arbitration to Saito. The Saito signing also probably means there is zero chance of Mike Gonzalez or Rafael Soriano returning to the Braves in 2010.

You can follow The Ghost of Moonlight Graham on Twitter @ theghostofmlg


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