Tsuyoshi Wada & Dan Duquette - photo from the Associated Press
Being that I left work early, I got to watch some of Wada's press conference on MASN at the gym and he already endeared himself to me by taking the step of introducing himself in English. I’m sure that earned him points with the press that was assembled, along with a fanbase eager for any good news.
Here’s from about Wada from Orioles.com beat writer, Brittany Ghiroli:
The Orioles, who signed Wada to a two-year deal with an option for 2014, are hoping Thursday won't be the only time the Japanese lefty wows a crowd. The 30-year-old Wada posted a 16-5 record with a 1.53 ERA and 168 strikeouts in 184 2/3 innings for the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks in 2011, and he was signed largely on account of pinpoint control that Duquette said makes up for a fastball velocity that lives in the 80s.
Wada spoke about why he chose the Orioles, and in turn, Duquette chimed on why he felt the Japanese southpaw was a good fit for Baltimore:
Asked why he chose Baltimore, Wada said: "I really felt that the Orioles were the first team to actually step up to make an offer and show the desire to have me in the organization. I really felt very appreciated."
The feeling was mutual on Thursday, as Duquette indicated the offseason upgrades are just getting started.
"In the words of the great Oriole manager Earl Weaver, we want to have deep depth," Duquette said, of the organization's quest to foster completion in the rotation next spring. "How many [starting-pitching candidates] would I like to have? I'd like to have as many good ones as we can get. But I think that Tsuyoshi is a very good addition to our ballclub because of his experience and capability to win games."
For the most part, Wada’s press conference was sort of the run-of-the-mill meet-and-great you’d expect.
However, I’m far more interested to see what Wada’s role will be on the Orioles’ roaster.
He’s a small, soft-tosser and based on what we’ve seen from pitchers based out of Japan, it remains to be seen if he’ll be successful or not.
Time will tell how Wada does against a tough American League East and at Camden Yards – that’s if he is a starting pitcher. He's not all that expensive, and could provide some upside and stability to a pitching corps that had issues last year during a sad 69 win season.
Considering his pedigree, he can be successful in the majors – if he can get guys out, be deceptive on the mound and throw strikes?
So far, Wada has left a very good impression.