As expected, the Padres have indeed signed relief pitcher Kazuhisa Makita, who had spent his entire pro career to date as a member of the Japan Pacific League’s Saitama Seibu Lions. The soft-tossing right-hander got a two-year deal worth four million dollars.
The 33-year-old was lights out for the Lions in 2016 and ‘17, his first two seasons coming strictly out of the bullpen. Makita spent his first five seasons primarily as a starter, with his ERA growing each and every year until he was converted to his relief role; since then he’s posted good-looking finishes of 1.60 and 2.30. Of course neither you, me, him, or AJ Preller know how that will translate to Major League Baseball, but it seems to me like his no-walks, no-homers, barely-any-strikeouts approach will be an effective antidote to the game’s current pinball phase of reveling in three true outcomes. Along with fellow ground-ballers Clayton Richard and Luis Perdomo, Makita will benefit from pitching in front of new Padres shortstop Freddy Galvis, regardless who’s at first base when Galvis (or whoever is playing on either side of him) throws the ball there.