Ken Rosenthal is reporting that the Red Sox will re-sign left-handed reliever Hideki Okajima to a 1-year contract, pending a physical. News of the deal first came from Nick Cafardo earlier today.
Okajima, 35, was non-tendered by the Red Sox earlier this off-season after a very disappointing 2010 season, posting a 4.50 ERA and 4.85 xFIP in 46 innings of work out of the bullpen.
Conventional wisdom says that the one missing piece to the 2011 Red Sox was a left-handed reliever. If Hideki Okajima is the team's response to the problem, then consider it unsolved. Okajima has been declining with some consistency since he entered the league, and isn't really looking like a major league pitcher any more. Certainly not in the AL East with a group of hitters used to his unconventional delivery.
If the agreement is for a major league deal as is being reported, then the Sox will have to remove someone from the 40-man roster. Fellow relievers Matt Albers, Matt Fox, and Robert Coello seem to be the most likely players. It will also likely put to rest any rumors surrounding the Red Sox and Brian Fuentes.
Even with a major league deal, Okajima will likely have to win his spot on the 25-man roster competing against lefties like Rich Hill and Andrew Miller.