MLB Hot Stove: D-Backs reportedly agree to sign Japanese reliever Yoshihisa Hirano
Hirano has been one of the top closers in Japan the past few seasons
The free-agent market has been moving slowly for everyone but relievers this offseason, and the Arizona Diamondbacks have gone overseas to add to their bullpen.
According to the Arizona Republic, the D-Backs have agreed to a two-year contract with Orix Buffaloes closer Yoshihisa Hirano. The team has not yet announced the signing.
Hirano, 34 in March, was a true free agent this offseason. He accrued enough service time with Orix to qualify for international free agency and did not need to be posted like fellow Japanese star Shohei Ohtani.
This past season the right-handed Hirano saved 29 games and pitched to a 2.67 ERA with 47 strikeouts in 57 1/3 innings. He has been a full-time reliever since 2010 and has saved 143 games the past five seasons. It's not yet known how the D-Backs will use him. Hirano could replace Fernando Rodney -- who signed with the Twins -- as closer or ease into things as a middle reliever or setup man.
Here's some video of Hirano pitching in the World Baseball Classic earlier this year. He typically operates in the low-90s with his fastball and has a nasty splitter.
The D-Backs added Brad Boxberger earlier this winter and will have ace setup man Archie Bradley returning next season as well. Those two plus Hirano figure to form manager Torey Lovullo's late-game bullpen.
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