URGENT! Red Sox's Dream Signing Faces Deadline Dilemma - Boston's Chances Revealed! Is This Star Player a Long Shot or the Ultimate Game-Changer? - footballivenews
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URGENT! Red Sox’s Dream Signing Faces Deadline Dilemma – Boston’s Chances Revealed! Is This Star Player a Long Shot or the Ultimate Game-Changer?



The Red Sox are approaching a crucial deadline regarding one of their rumored free agent targets, and unless there’s a last-minute surprise, it seems Boston’s efforts will likely fall short. The team is considered a “long shot” to sign Japanese left-hander Shōta Imanaga before his upcoming deadline to join a major league club on Thursday (Jan. 11), according to a source familiar with the discussions between the parties. The extent of Boston’s pursuit of Imanaga remains unclear, but it appears that, as of now, the left-handed pitcher is expected to sign with another team.

Earlier, The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier reported that the Red Sox were more on the periphery of Imanaga’s free agency rather than being actively involved. Multiple teams, including the Angels, Giants, Cubs, and Mets, have expressed interest in Imanaga, alongside the Red Sox, over the past few weeks. MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand currently considers San Francisco, one of the teams that missed out on Japanese starter Yoshinobu Yamamoto, as the favorite to sign Imanaga. It’s uncertain whether Imanaga has a preference for pitching on the west coast.

Imanaga, aged 30, was posted by the Yokohama Bay Stars on Nov. 27, initiating a 30-day window for teams to sign him. While he may not command a deal comparable to Yoshinobu Yamamoto’s recent $325 million contract with the Dodgers, Imanaga is still considered an attractive mid-rotation option, potentially securing a deal exceeding $100 million on the open market. MLBTradeRumors initially ranked Imanaga as the No. 10 free agent in this year’s market.

The Red Sox, as reported by MassLive’s Sean McAdam, extensively scouted Imanaga, who led Nippon Professional Baseball with 174 strikeouts in 2023. Despite Boston’s lack of significant improvements to its starting rotation this winter, Imanaga was viewed as a logical fit, particularly given the team’s recent signing of Lucas Giolito and the trade of Chris Sale. Boston was reportedly impressed with Imanaga’s pitch metrics, despite his undersized stature (5-foot-10) and a fastball that typically sits in the 92-93 mph range.

A veteran scout who observed Imanaga in both the World Baseball Classic and NPB described him as an undersized lefty with a strong ability to throw strikes, emphasizing his strategic approach on the mound. While acknowledging that Imanaga may not be overpowering, the scout highlighted the effectiveness of his fastball, split-change, slider, and curve, ultimately viewing him as a back-of-the-rotation pitcher due to his consistent strike-throwing ability but expressing concerns about pitch quality and durability.

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