The Baltimore Orioles signed left-handed starting pitcher Tsuyoshi Wada to a two-year, $4.15 million contract.
As of right now, the de facto fifth starter for the Baltimore Orioles is Brian Matusz, who suffered through one of the worst seasons from any starting pitcher in the past decade. While he's just 24, and there's still time for him to fix what's wrong, it might not be the best idea to hand him a job out of spring training.
With that in mind, the Orioles signed Japanese left-hander Tsuyoshi Wada to a two-year, $4.15 million deal with an option for a third year. The 30-year-old Wada was previously with the Fukuoka Softbank Hawks of the NPB's Pacific League, and he just completed the best season of his career, going 16-5 with a 1.51 ERA and a 168/40 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 184 innings. It should be noted, though, that run scoring in the NPB was way, way down in 2011.
NPBtracker.com has a scouting report on Wada, which reads:
So although he’s keeping the ball in the yard, the runs are still coming in. With his fastball velocity living the 87-88 range, Wada will not have the margin for error that a pure power pitcher might. If he has trouble locating any of his pitches, he will not be able to blow anyone away with his heater. As a starter, he could find it difficult to get through tougher MLB lineups two or three times.
So if you're expecting David Price, recalibrate and expect Doug Davis. Though if you want to get extra optimistic, you can note that Mark Buehrle's average fastball last season was 85 m.p.h., and the list of left-handers who can thrive with below-average velocity isn't a short one.