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Padres close to signing Japanese submariner Kazuhisa Makita

The Padres missed on Shohei Ohtani, but they appear poised to sign another talented Japanese pitcher.

World Baseball Classic - Pool B - Game 1 - Cuba v Japan Photo by Atsushi Tomura/Getty Images

It’s been a quiet offseason, but the Padres are preparing to make a little noise. Japanese right-handed reliever Kazuhisa Makita was posted by Nippon Professional Baseball on the same day as Shohei Ohtani, and the Union-Tribune’s Jeff Passan found a report stating that the Padres are close to signing him.’s Joe Trezza wrote up an analysis of the 33-year-old pitcher, who has been dominant over the last two seasons. He’s a submariner, meaning that he throws from such an extreme tilt that his fingers nearly scrape the mound as he releases the ball. Check out this video to see what kinds of odd action he can get from his unusual delivery:

The report states that Makita is on his way to the US for a physical exam in final preparation for a contract signing. He’s anything but a power pitcher, relying on deception and movement to induce weak contact. His fastball tops out in the low 80’s, but his unique delivery makes his sinker, slider and curveball all groundball machines. He commands the strike zone effectively, registering BB/9 and HR/9 rates under 1.0, which is nearly unheard of among MLB pitchers. For comparison, Brad Hand gave up 1.0 HR/9 and 2.3 BB/9 last season.

Notable submariners of the past include Kent Tekluve and Dan Quisenberry, two of the more dominant relievers of their time. Nobody in the league gets low like Makita, but the eerily similarly-named Steve Cishek and Pat Neshek come about as close as anyone. The new of Makita’s signing is just breaking, so no information is available regarding the contract terms at this time.