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Red Sox, Junichi Tazawa agree to one-year deal, avoid arbitration

The Red Sox and Junichi Tazawa have avoided arbitration with a one-year, $3.375 million contract.

David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

The Red Sox and Junichi Tazawa settled on a one-year deal worth $3.375 million Wednesday night, keeping the Red Sox and their reliever from facing an arbitration hearing.

The $3.375 million is just $50,000 off the midway point between the figures submitted by Tazawa ($4.15 million) and the Red Sox ($2.7 million), with the Red Sox coming out just barely ahead if you're really looking to declare a winner. While the two sides were pretty far apart, with Tazawa wanting more than half again what the Red Sox were offering, the fact of the matter is that $1.45 million isn't actually all that much money for a team that plays in the payroll ranges of the Red Sox.

For both Dave Dombrowski and the Red Sox, the Tazawa deal leaves them one Robbie Ross Jr. away from extending their streaks to 14 years without actually seeing the arbitration table. Given that the two sides are much closer than they were in Tazawa's deal--a mere $250,000 apart--that seems likely to get sorted out quickly as well. Joe Kelly and the Red Sox recently settled on a $2.6 million contract for 2016, rounding out the trio of the team's arbitration-eligible players this offseason.

For Tazawa, the one-year deal likely also serves the purpose of shutting off extension talks if, indeed, there were any to begin with. It seems unlikely that either side would be too eager to sign a long-term deal immediately after the worst season of his career, but now with a contract in hand, it seems very likely that Tazawa will go into the next offseason as a free-agent-to-be. Whether the Red Sox feel the need to pay up to keep him in Boston will likely depend a great deal on how their revamped bullpen plays out in 2016.