Takashi Saito hasn’t exactly been a workhorse for the past few seasons, and at age 41 this year, that’s probably not going to change in Milwaukee. That’s not stopping him from aiming high, though. From Japan Today:
“I haven’t pitched in 60 games in a while,” Saito said Tuesday. He signed a one-year free agent deal with the Brewers this offseason. “As I get older, it gets more difficult to do this, but I want to at least make this my goal.”
It’s no wonder Saito wants to hit that mark — according to Cot’s Contracts, his deal with the Brewers pays him an additional $200,000 if he reaches 60 games, the biggest incentive in an incentive-laden deal. As the article notes, though, Saito hasn’t hit the 60-game mark since 2007 — his second year in the league. He’s come close in each of the past two seasons, pitching in 56 games for the Red Sox and Braves, but broke down last season at the end of the year. He’s been incredibly effective when healthy, but it seems pretty clear that the Brewers are going to have to handle him with kid gloves if he’s going to avoid a DL stint this season.
It would be nice to see Saito in 60 games this year, but it just doesn’t seem likely. It’s just too hard to look past the problems he had last year with shoulder tendinitis — missing most of September and considering retirement — and still be that optimistic about his appearances. Considering those shoulder problems and another year of age, if Saito is able to give the team 50 innings of his career averages (2.58 FIP, 3.21 xFIP, 11.0 K/9), the Brewers should take it and run, and Saito would be well worth the $1.75 million (plus incentives).