Hisanori Takahashi was one of the bright spots for the Mets in 2010. He was very inexpensive, did not spend extended time on the DL, pitched well however he was used, and wants to return.
The Mets should not waste time in making this happen.
Takahashi started, pitched out of the pen, and ended the season as closer. He did have some success in all roles, especially as closer, going 8-for-8 in save opportunities.
He clearly showed what a wily veteran is. Not a fireballer, he still strikes out many, and never seemed the slightest bit intimidated by the move to MLB.
When 2011 begins, the Met rotation, as of now, will be Dickey, Pelfrey, Niese, maybe Gee, and who knows who else. Takahashi could definitely be a starter should KRod return or Parnell finally steps up with another pitch and maybe claims the closer role.
However, if the team does acquire another starter, if Gee does well in Florida, if KRod is locked up or jettisoned, and if Parnell continues on his career path to nowhere, Taka could also potentially close.
Yes, he was 8-for-8 at the end of the year long after Met contention had become a memory, but several of those saves came against the Phils and Braves, and a close look at some of Taka’s numbers do seem to show a potential inclination toward a closer’s profile.
His numbers were better the less rest he had; pitching with 0-1 days off as a reliever was when he posted his best stats. He also—across the board—did his best in his first 15 pitches of an outing. Now, this is not a scientific, esoteric study, but, along with his tenacity, poise, and fearlessness, all of this sure would seem to suggest a pitcher who could potentially thrive as a closer.
Stories in the press have said that he wants a 2-year deal, but might be very affordable, relatively. Others have said that he very much enjoyed NY, and wants to return. It has also been stated that he wants to start.
This is a valuable pitcher, especially if he can be had for something like the 2/5 contract being bandied about.
He has seen success in basically all roles as a pitcher, on the big stage of NY, and on a team that was clearly under pressure and in the crosshairs of media and fans all year long. This is not a man who rattles easily.
The feeling here is that Taka would be a huge asset for this team going forward, as 4th or 5th starter, or potentially as closer; indeed in either role he can succeed, and he might really take off if given a chance to close.
He is worth giving a few extra dollars due to his proven versatility. He wants to pitch in NY. The Mets’ little success in 2010 was clearly due to pitching, and along with Johan, Dickey, Pelf, and Niese, Taka was one of the keys to the pitching staff’s good performance.
A large reason for the team not following up on the success of 2006 can be traced to allowing Bradford and Oliver to get away. In other words, not properly valuing pitching depth.
Let’s hope the Mets don’t repeat these sins and let another good one get away. Sign Taka and make it happen quickly.