Okajima, 36, initially had a lot of success in America, putting up a combined 2.40 ERA with a 1.061 WHIP, a 8.5 K/9, and a 2.7 BB/9 over his first two seasons with the Sox. However, he struggled in 2010, posting a 4.50 ERA, a 1.717 WHIP, a 6.5 K/9, and a 3.9 BB/9. He had regressed in every category.
Last season he spent little time with the Red Sox before being demoted to the minors where he put up strong numbers again, a 2.29 ERA, 0.941 WHIP, a 8.5 K/9, and a 1.6 BB/9. Now the Yankees will give him a chance to compete with Rule 5 draftee Cesar Cebral for a spot as the second lefty in the bullpen.
Considering the Yankees recent success in signing a ton of relievers and hoping that a few of them work out, this is a smart move. Okajima’s number against lefties have regressed recently, he’s going to have to make improvements to earn a roster spot.