Patrick Newman of NPB Tracker reports that the New York Mets are among eight teams that have interest in Japanese reliever Takashi Saito.
According to Sponichi, Takashi Saito has eight teams interested, including the White Sox, Cubs, Braves and Mets. The Braves had some interest in Saito way back in 2002 but he wound up remaining with Yokohama.
Saito turns 40 in February, and had a solid season for the Boston Red Sox in 2009. In 55 innings pitched he had a 2.42 ERA and a 1.35 WHIP, while striking out 52 batters.
Saito became a free agent when the Red Sox declined his $6 million dollar option last month.
As much as I commend Saito for a fine season coming off an elbow injury in 2008, I don’t believe he’d be a good fit for a team that has plenty of less riskier and much better options available to them in free agency.
The Mets would probably be better off signing Darren Oliver who had a better season and is a year younger, but more importantly he has proven to be very durable. Additionally, Oliver is lefthanded and fills a more significant need for the Mets bullpen.
Oliver, who has already had some success with the Mets, appeared in 63 games last season for the Angels and had a 2.71 ERA and a 1.14 WHIP in 73 innings. He struck out 65 batters while walking just 22. He shows no signs of slowing down.
If I’m laying out $3 million bucks for a reliever, I think I’d rather have Darren Oliver instead of Saito.