Hisanori Takahashi Rumors
We'll track today's minor moves here:
- The Cubs have outrighted reliever Hisanori Takahashi to Triple-A Iowa, the Chicago Sun-Times' Gordon Wittenmyer reports (on Twitter). The Cubs designated Takahashi for assignment in a series of moves earlier this week. Takahashi, 38, has a career 3.99 ERA with 8.2 K/9 and 3.1 BB/9 in parts of four Major League seasons with the Mets, Angels, Pirates and Cubs.
The Cubs claimed infielder Cody Ransom off waivers from the Padres, GM Jed Hoyer told reporters including MLB.com's Carrie Muskat. The team also purchased the contract of Kevin Gregg. Sunday's waiver claim, Kameron Loe, is also joining the Cubs' bullpen, while reliever Hisanori Takahashi and infielder Brent Lillibridge were designated for assignment. Second baseman Darwin Barney has been reinstated from the DL, as expected.
Ransom had been designated for assignment by the Padres on Friday. The 37-year-old had the most exposure of his big league career last year, racking up a .220/.312/.411 line in 282 plate appearances for the Brewers and Diamondbacks. If Ransom somehow sticks on the Cubs' roster, he'll be arbitration eligible after the season.
Takahashi, 38, was scored upon in two of his three appearances for the Cubs this year. The lefty posted a 5.54 ERA, 9.3 K/9, 2.5 BB/9, 1.43 HR/9, and 37.1% groundball rate in 50 1/3 innings for the Angels and Pirates in 2012. The Cubs' bullpen is already being retooled, with a 5.82 ERA in the early going.
Lillibridge, 29, had one hit in 24 plate appearances for the Cubs this year. He played second and third base. Lillibridge hit .195/.250/.274 in 209 plate appearances for the White Sox, Red Sox, and Indians last year. He was part of a "numbers crunch," Hoyer told reporters including Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune. With the recent additions of Ransom, Gregg, and Loe, the Cubs' 40-man roster remains full.
The Cubs have agreed to sign Hisanori Takahashi to a minor league contract with an invitation to Spring Training, reports Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports (on Twitter). The veteran left-hander is a Wasserman Media Group client.
Takahashi, 37, pitched to a 5.54 ERA with 9.3 K/9 and 2.5 BB/9 in 50 1/3 relief innings for the Angels and Pirates last season. He owns a 3.97 ERA in 240 1/3 MLB innings, making 12 starts and 153 relief appearances. Takahashi has held big league lefties to a .238/.283/.381 batting line with a 4.14 K/BB.
The Pirates have exercised their 2013 club option for Pedro Alvarez and declined for Rod Barajas, reports Rob Biertempfel of The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (on Twitter). The team also released southpaw Hisanori Takahashi.
Alvarez will earn $700K next season and would have remained under team control as a pre-arbitration eligible player had Pittsburgh declined the option. Barajas, 37, hit .206/.283/.343 with 11 homers this year and will receive no buyout rather than a $3.5MM salary. Takahashi, 37, was due to hit free agency so his release is just procedural. He pitched to a 5.54 ERA in 50 1/3 innings split between the Angels and Pirates in 2012.
Takahashi appeared in 42 games for the Angels this year, posting a 4.93 ERA with 8.8 K/9 and 2.1 BB/9 in 42 innings. He signed a two-year, $8MM contract with Los Angeles after the 2010 campaign.
The 37-year-old has held left-handed hitters to a .244/.287/.384 batting line with 9.2 K/9 and 2.1 BB/9 in three MLB seasons. Takahashi joins fellow southpaw Tony Watson and right-handers Joel Hanrahan, Jason Grilli, Jared Hughes, Chris Resop and Chad Qualls in the Pirates' bullpen.
Links for Thursday night..
- The Giants likely can't get much for Barry Zito and therefore a deal involving him is unlikely, writes MLB.com's Chris Haft.
- Ryan Theriot enjoyed his brief stint with the Dodgers last season, writes Quinn Roberts for MLB.com. After playing 54 games for the club last season, he was shipped to the Cardinals for reliever Blake Hawksworth.
- Despite all of the uncertainty about their rotation heading into this season, it seems like the Rangers pitching is just fine, writes Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com.
- After bouncing around from the Pirates to the Nationals to the Brewers, Nyjer Morgan seems to be carving out a niche for himself in Milwaukee, writes George Von Benko for MLB.com. The Brewers acquired Morgan in exchange for Cutter Dykstra in late March.
- Major League Baseball announced the selection order for the draft (June 6-8) and the Padres own five of the first 58 overall selections, writes Corey Brock of MLB.com. In addition to their own first-rounder, the club has the ninth pick for failing to sign their 2010 first-round pick, pitcher Karsten Whitson. They also have three compensatory picks for Jon Garland (Dodgers), Yorvit Torrealba (Rangers) and Kevin Correia (Pirates).
- The Angels are grateful to have picked up left-handed relievers Hisanori Takahashi and Scott Downs this offseason, writes Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times.
FRIDAY, 4:40pm: Takahashi received a two-year deal worth $8MM, according to David Lennon of Newsday (via Twitter).
THURSDAY: The Angels got started with what will likely be a busy offseason, signing versatile left-hander Hisanori Takahashi to a two-year deal. The terms of the deal are unknown.
Takahashi, 36 in April, posted a 3.61 ERA, 8.4 K/9, 3.2 BB/9, 1.0 HR/9, and 38.4% groundball rate in 122 innings this year for the Mets. Takahashi was especially strong as a reliever in his MLB debut season, posting a 2.04 ERA, 9.4 K/9, and 3.5 BB/9 in 57 1/3 innings out of the pen. He even picked up eight saves in as many tries. Takahashi is tough on lefties and should take on a late-inning role for the Halos.
The Mets had until October 31st to re-sign Takahashi per the terms of his contract, which was later extended until November 5th. The Mets were unwilling to offer multiple years.
Let's take a look at a few items on the Nationals and Phillies..
- A baseball source familiar with the Nats' thinking tells Bill Ladson of MLB.com that Josh Willingham will most likely be traded before 2011. Yesterday, we learned that the Nats are unlikely to offer the outfielder an extension this winter. Washington controls Willingham for one more season and the slugger's agent Matt Sosnick says that his client has no animosity towards the club.
- An interesting note from the Philadelphia Inquirer's Bob Brookover: Phillies GM Ruben Amaro referred to outfielder Jayson Werth in the past tense when addressing the media today. Most believe that the Phillies are not interested in retaining the 31-year-old, who is sure to fetch hefty offers on the open market.
- Little surprise here, but Amaro says that the club's recent signing of Dan Meyer to a minor-league deal will not preclude them from getting other left-handers, Brookover writes. The GM has made no secret of the fact that he is after left-handed relief this winter and has begun to show interest in Hisanori Takahashi.
10:16am: Even though the Reds claimed Takahashi, he cannot play for the Mets before May 15th if he signs with New York, according to Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com (on Twitter). In other words, don't expect him to return to the Mets.
8:07am: The Reds claimed Hisanori Takahashi on unconditional release waivers last week, according to transactions summaries at CBS Sports and Yahoo Sports. A source confirmed to MLBTR that the Reds claimed the left-hander. Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com reports that the Reds claimed Takahashi to obtain an exclusive five-day negotiating window with him.
Takahashi was set to hit free agency, but the Reds' move won't prevent him from hitting the open market. Players claimed on unconditional release waivers have five days to reject the claim and elect free agency and Takahashi elected free agency, according to Rubin.
It's unclear whether the move will help the Mets, who were negotiating an extension with Takahashi earlier in the month. Because the Mets didn’t sign Takahashi in time, it appeared that he would not be able to pitch before May 15th if he re-signed in New York. Takahashi's last club was the Reds, which could allow the Mets to re-sign him.
The Phillies are showing interest in Hisanori Takahashi, reports ESPNNewYork.com's Adam Rubin. Philadelphia declined J.C. Romero's option a few weeks ago, so they're in the market for a left-handed reliever.
The Mets were unable to work out a new contract with Takahashi despite numerous deadline extensions earlier this month, and they were contractually obligated to release him. The 35-year-old is reportedly seeking a three-year deal worth upwards of $15MM coming off his first season in MLB. In 122 innings with New York, he struck out 8.4 men per nine innings and walked 3.2, resulting in a 3.61 ERA. Takahashi made a dozen starts and 41 relief appearances, filling in as closer when Francisco Rodriguez was injured late in the season.
Tim Dierkes examined Takahashi's free agent stock in-depth back in September.