The Padres have agreed to a two-year deal with 33-year-old Japanese reliever Kazuhisa Makita, according to Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports. The deal will pay close to $4 million. Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports and Yahoo! Japan first reported a deal was close Friday afternoon.
Makita, who is headed to the United States for a physical, will be a major addition to San Diego’s bullpen if his signing is ultimately finalized. While he’s undersized for a big-league pitcher (5-foot-10 and 181 pounds), his sidearm motion — one that features his right hand nearly making contact with the dirt of the pitcher’s mound — has consistently been deceptive to opposing hitters during his seven-year career with the Seibu Lions. Makita has posted a 2.83 ERA and 1.17 WHIP over 276 career appearances, including 110 starts over the first five seasons of his career. In 2017, his second full season as a reliever, Makita posted a 2.30 ERA with a 1.02 WHIP, 35 strikeouts, and just five walks through 62.2 innings.
The Padres’ bullpen currently does not feature much proven depth beyond closer Brad Hand, who is widely believed to be a trade candidate this offseason, and former Marlins closer Carter Capps, so Makita will likely fill a major role if he ends up signing with San Diego. The team also re-signed Craig Stammen to a two-year deal on Friday.