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So Long, Sammy

Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports has reported the Red Sox have signed closer Takashi Saito to a one-year deal with incentives:

The deal was completed after Saito passed his physical on Friday. It includes a guarantee between $1.5 million and $2.5 million, the sources said, and Saito will have the chance to earn more than $7 million if he reaches all of his incentives

The Dodgers have been spoiled this decade with ridiculously great closers in Eric Gagne & Saito:

Closer Years Saves Blown Save %
K/9 Opponents ERA+
Eric Gagne 2002-2004 152 6 96.2% 13.3 .168/.228/.248 222
Takashi Saito 2006-2008 81 10 89.0% 11.6 .182/.246/.264 229

The brilliance of these two has put a heavy weight of expectations upon the current Dodger closer Jonathan Broxton, an excellent reliever whose rare mistakes seem magnified when compared to his recent predecessors. 

But this isn't about Broxton.  It's about a proper farewell to one of the most unlikely surprises in Dodger history.  Saito was signed as a 36-year old journeyman to a minor league contract in 2006.  There was no way to see the amazing success Saito would have with the Dodgers, given that his ERA with the Yokohama Bay Stars was a combined 4.65 in the previous three seasons.  With a surprisingly lively fastball (per Fangraphs, Saito averaged 92 MPH in his Dodger tenure) and a nearly unhittable slider, Saito dominantly carved his place in Dodger history.

Thank you Takashi Saito for three wonderful years.  Just remember, there's no shame in finishing behind the Tampa Bay Rays.