Hisanori Takahashi Rumors

Davidoff On Beltran, Greinke, Takahashi, Kemp

The Mets are sending "strong signals" that they'd like to trade Carlos Beltran this winter, an AL official tells Ken Davidoff of Newsday. Davidoff acknowledges that the Mets often seem to want to unload big contracts, but rarely follow through. However, Beltran, as opposed to Luis Castillo or Oliver Perez, is a player that other teams would have interest in. Here are Davidoff's other hot stove notes:

  • The Royals have Zack Greinke signed through 2012, but aren't sure whether they'll be competitive by then, so they'd be willing to listen to offers on their ace. Davidoff lists the Yankees, Rangers, Tigers, and Nationals as teams who might be interested.
  • Hisanori Takahashi is eligible for free agency this winter and would like to be a starting pitcher. One AL scout is skeptical: "Who’s going to sign him to start? Maybe a bad team, at the back end of their rotation. He’d be better off staying in the bullpen. He’s really good there."
  • Davidoff wonders if new Dodgers manager Don Mattingly will be more willing to deal with Matt Kemp than Joe Torre was. A scout compares Kemp to Alfonso Soriano, suggesting that both players lack baseball instincts and struggle to improve their games.

Odds & Ends: Cubs, Varitek, Wakefield, Hoffman

Links for Wednesday, 50 years after the Milwaukee Braves signed Joe Torre as an amateur free agent…

  • The Cubs intend to interview Ryne Sandberg and others for their managerial opening within ten days, according to Bruce Levine of ESPNChicago.
  • Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports says baseball's revenue sharing system is not broken, but he would like to see MLB adopt a "laser-like focus" on developing a fairer system.
  • Jason Varitek told reporters, including Alex Speier of WEEI that he intends to keep playing after next season.
  • Tim Wakefield's base salary for 2011 rises from $1.5MM to $2MM if he finishes 3.1 innings tonight, as Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald points out on Twitter.
  • Trevor Hoffman told Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that he'll wait until after the season to decide whether to retire (Twitter link).
  • Hisanori Takahashi told Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com that he likes New York and wants to continue playing major league baseball. He just doesn't know if he’ll re-sign with the Mets this winter.

Odds & Ends: Huff, Marlins, Sampson, D’Backs

Links for Thursday, exactly ten years after the Angels signed Ervin Santana as an amateur free agent…

  • Aubrey Huff is enjoying his time in San Francisco, writes Chris Haft of MLB.com.  Huff, who signed a one-year, $3MM deal with the Giants in the offseason, will be a free agent at season's end.
  • The Marlins still consider Bobby Valentine a candidate for their managerial opening and Valentine didn't rule out the possibility of re-starting talks with the team, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (on Twitter). 
  • The Astros announced that they removed Chris Sampson from their 40-man roster. He has three days to accept a minor league assignment or opt for free agency. Sampson told MLB.com's Brian McTaggart that he realizes his time with the Astros is likely over.
  • The Mariners say they knew little about Josh Lueke's history with the law when they acquired the pitching prospect in the Cliff Lee trade, but both the Rangers and former Mariners pitching coach Rick Adair have different versions of the story, as Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times explains.
  • Unsure where your team is going to pick in next year's draft? Check out our reverse standings page, which we link to under 'Features' on the right side of the page.
  • Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports reports that the D’Backs plan to speak to De Jon Watson, the Dodgers assistant GM for player development, about their permanent GM job. Also in the running, some familiar names: Jerry Dipoto, D’Backs assistant GM Peter Woodfork, Kevin Towers, Damon Oppenheimer and Logan White.
  • Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic believes Chien-Ming Wang, who signed for $2MM plus incentives, is a better comparable for Brandon Webb than Rich Harden, Tim Hudson, or the other pitchers his agent compared him to
  • Chone Figgins told Mike DiGiovanna of the LA Times that he doesn't regret signing in Seattle.
  • Rookie pitcher Hisanori Takahashi can become a free agent after the season, as David Waldstein of the New York Times reports. He and the Mets haven't started negotiating an extension, but there's mutual interest in one.

Odds & Ends: Kim, Dukes, Adrian

Links for Thursday…

Mets Reach Agreement With Hisanori Takahashi

The Mets reached an agreement with Hisanori Takahashi on a minor league deal that will pay the lefty $1MM if he's in the majors. The deal also includes up to $2MM in performance bonuses.

Takahashi, 35 in April, is a flyball/command pitcher who can fill a swingman role. The Mets, who signed Japanese reliever Ryota Igarashi earlier this offseason, could start Takahashi in the minors. 

In 144 innings for the Yomiuri Giants, Takahashi pitched to a 2.94 ERA. He had good strikeout (7.9 K/9) and walk (2.3 BB/9) rates, too.

ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick reported that the sides reached an agreement after David Waldstein of the New York Times reported they were on the verge of one. Crasnick, Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports and Waldstein added financial details (Twitter links). Before that, NPB Tracker's Patrick Newman passed along a Sports Hochi report indicating that Takahashi would sign with the Mets or Dodgers.

Ben Nicholson-Smith contributed to this post.

Odds & Ends: Lincecum, Jackson, Blalock, Bedard

Some Tuesday night links…

Four Clubs Offer Minor League Deal To Takahashi

9:01pm: The Pirates have emerged as a destination for Takahashi, according to a report from Sanspo passed along by Patrick Newman of NPB Tracker.  The report also notes that the Dodgers are targeting other pitchers and the Mets were "moving towards an MLB contract," but couldn't agree on money.

Meanwhile, Takahashi was set to throw for teams today in Arizona, according to an article from Sponichi passed along by Newman.

2:32pm: Japaneseballplayers.com reports that Takahashi has turned down the Mets' offer as well. NPB Tracker tweets that Takahashi prefers to play on the West coast.

SUNDAY, 11:01pm: Jeff Zrebiec of The Baltimore Sun reports that Takahashi has turned down the Orioles' offer of a minor league deal, but that doesn't mean the two sides can't work something out down the road.

SATURDAY, 4:53pm: Takahashi is being considered by the Mets, Dodgers, Red Sox, Giants, Pirates, and Padres tweets Jon Heyman of SI.  Heyman also writes that Takahashi will pick his team soon.

Meanwhile, Andrew Baggarly of the Mercury News reports (via Twitter) that the Giants are assuming that Takahashi will sign elsewhere.

FRIDAY, 7:19pm: NPB Tracker passes along a report (via Twitter) from the Japanese publication Sponichi Annex saying that the Giants and Dodgers are in the lead for Takahashi's services, however Henry Schulman of The San Francisco Chronicle tweets that the the Giants are still waiting to hear back about their minor league offer.

THURSDAY, 2:38pm: Free agent lefty Hisanori Takahashi has minor league offers from the Red Sox, Giants, Padres, and Dodgers, according to a Sports Hochi report passed along on Twitter by NPB Tracker's Patrick Newman.

Last week, ESPN's Jerry Crasnick wrote that Takahashi seeks a big league deal and has drawn interest from the Orioles, Dodgers, Mets, Red Sox, and Giants.  Takahashi, 35 in April, profiles as a flyball/command pitcher who can fill a swingman role.

Odds & Ends: Kielty, Ruiz, Gillick, Santos

Saturday morning links…

  • Arangure (via Twitter) writes that the A's have agreed to terms with Michael Feliz, a right-hander from the Dominican Republic.  The deal, which is still pending a physical and an age investigation, will provide Feliz with an $800K bonus.  The Dominican Prospect League website says that the 6'4, 200-pound hurler is 16-years-old.
  • Tim tweets that Bobby Kielty is converting to pitching, and that his slider is actually pretty good. The 33-year-old last played in the big leagues back in 2007, when he was still an outfielder of course.
  • ESPN's Jorge Arangure tweets that the Blue Jays, Rockies, and Rangers are the teams most interested in Cuban first baseman Jose Julio Ruiz. Ruiz was recently cleared to sign by the Office of Foreign Asset Control.
  • Pat Gillick has returned to the Phillies as a senior advisor to president Dave Montgomery, reports Bob Elliott of The Toronto Sun. Gillick was the team's GM from 2006-2008. 
  • ESPN's Buster Olney spoke to several talent evaluators, none of whom think Omir Santos is equipped to be a number one catcher. If the season started today, Santos would likely be behind the plate for the Mets. 

Hisanori Takahashi Seeking Major League Deal

Japanese lefty Hisanori Takahashi seeks a big league deal as he attempts to transition to MLB, reports ESPN's Jerry Crasnick.  Crasnick names five interested teams: the Orioles, Dodgers, Mets, Red Sox, and Giants.  Takahashi, 35 in April, is willing to pitch as a starter or reliever.

Last year for the Yomiuri Giants Takahashi posted a 2.94 ERA, 7.9 K/9, 2.2 BB/9, and 1.0 HR/9 in 144 innings. Takahashi's '08 numbers: 4.13 ERA, 6.9 K/9, 2.2 BB/9, and 1.18 HR/9 in 122 innings.  By numbers alone Takahashi could be considered a command guy who might have trouble keeping the ball in the yard and exceeding 150 innings.

Back in November, Patrick Newman of NPB Tracker profiled Takahashi.  He earned about $1.3MM in '09 and is represented by Peter Greenberg.  Takahashi doesn't throw very hard or shut down lefties, but is known for his screwball.

Odds & Ends: Havlicek, Lincecum, Kennedy

Links for Wednesday…

  • The Rays signed 16-year-old lefty Stepan Havlicek out of the Czech Republic, according to a press release.  He is "believed to be the first ever signed by the Rays out of Europe."
  • Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports takes a look at the significance of Tim Lincecum's arbitration case.  SI's Jon Heyman believes a two-year, $24MM deal would work for both sides.
  • Heyman also notes that the Rays, Marlins, and Nationals have a policy not to compromise after figures are filed.
  • In another article, Morosi says Adam Kennedy is down to three teams, two of which would use him as an everyday second baseman.
  • Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram informs us about Colby Lewis, the newest member of the Rangers' rotation.
  • WEEI's Alex Speier tells you everything you ever wanted to know (and then some) about the Red Sox and their efforts to minimize their competitive balance tax.
  • Patrick Newman of NPB Tracker says 34-year-old screwballing lefty Hisanori Takahashi may have a big league offer.  The Orioles are one interested party, according to MASN's Roch Kubatko
  • Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times says the Mariners appear to have about $10MM left to spend.