The Red Sox signed Japanese independent league pitcher Hideyoshi Otake to a minor league contract, a source confirmed to MLB Daily Dish. This is the second Japanese pitcher the Red Sox have signed to a minor league contract this offseason. Veteran Japanese submarine pitcher Shunsuke Watanabe signed a deal in December with Boston.
Otake pitched for the Toyama Thunderbirds of the Baseball Challenge League in Japan and was among the players who attended a tryout the Red Sox held in Japan according to Hokkuku Shimbun.
The 25-year old is listed at 5'11, 180 pounds, possesses a 94 MPH fastball and is considered by Japanese talent evaluators as one of the best pitchers of the Baseball Challenge League. Otake posted a 1-5 record, 2.23 ERA, 47 strikeouts, 16 walks in 44.1 inning pitched over the course of 46 appearances last year.
The Red Sox have invested considerable time into the Asian market this offseason. The team agreed to a special information exchange deal with the Nexen Heroes of the Korean Baseball Organization last week. The deal will give the Red Sox access to scouting information from the KBO. In exchange for the information, the team will provide farm system development strategies to the Heroes.
The Red Sox, historically, have been among the most involved teams in the Asian market, highlighted by the signing of Daisuke Matsuzaka and Hideki Okajima in 2007. Hideo Nomo, Matsuzaka, Okajima, Byung-Hyun Kim, Hee-Seop Choi are among the many Asian baseball players the Red Sox have had on their 40-man roster.