Archive for Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Indians import: Cleveland signs Japanese closer

November 21, 2007


— Looking to strengthen the back end of their bullpen and add insurance for closer Joe Borowski, the Cleveland Indians signed Japanese free agent Masahide Kobayashi to a $6.25 million, two-year contract on Tuesday.

The deal includes a $3.25 million club option for 2010 with a $250,000 buyout.

The 33-year-old Kobayashi spent the past nine seasons with the Chiba Lotte Marines, currently managed by Bobby Valentine. The right-handed reliever is one of three pitchers in Japanese baseball history with more than 200 saves.

He will join Cleveland's bullpen as a setup man for Borowski, who in his first season with the Indians led the AL with 45 saves - many of them shaky ones. Cleveland recently exercised Borowski's $4 million option for 2008.

"This is a guy who has extensive closing experience," Indians general manager Mark Shapiro said at a news conference to introduce Kobayashi. "I view him in the upper echelon of guys who were available on the market."


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