In Wednesday’s 3-2 Mets win over the Nationals, Hisanori Takahashi worked the ninth inning for his fifth save in as many tries.
We now know enough about Takahashi to understand that he is best suited to be a reliever as opposed to a starting pitcher. The problem is that Takahashi still prefers to start despite evidence that proves he becomes increasingly ineffective the second time against a batting order and a complete disaster if they get a third shot at him as his .371 opposing batting average clearly shows.
As a left-handed reliever, Takahashi has been a tremendous success as his 2.18 ERA would indicate. But a closer look at his numbers shows how special he really is working out of the bullpen.
In 45.1 innings pitched, Takahashi has struck out 49 batters while walking just 18. That’s a 9.5 K9 rate and a near 3:1 strikeout to walk ratio. Outstanding. Who wouldn’t drool to have numbers like that from their closer? Let me not get to ahead of myself though, because until further notice I’m running with the notion that Frankie Rodriguez will be back in 2011.
However, even if you compare Takahashi’s numbers to our lefty specialist Pedro Feliciano, he completely blows him out of the water. And his numbers against left handed batters are still better than Feliciano in a head to head match-up.
Takahashi vs. LHB: 27 IP – 0.67 ERA – 23 H – 8 BB – 33 K
Feliciano vs. LHB: 26 IP – 1.04 ERA – 22 H – 8 BB – 28 K
It’s no contest really, and while Feliciano (2.22 WHIP) is completely ineffective against right-handed hitting as we’ve painfully observed over the years, Hisanori Takahashi (1.33 WHIP) is as good a crossover reliever as the Mets have had in several seasons.
So where am I going with all this?
We have Pedro Feliciano currently making $2.9 million dollars this season and expected to go to arbitration after the season, and there’s even rumors that a multi-year deal could be in the works.
And then you have Hisanori Takahashi who is clearly better and currently making $1 million dollars and becomes a free agent after this season.
As I wrote in a previous post, the Mets may only have about $9-10 million dollars to fill 17 spots this offseason. Here is how I came up with number:
Thanks to huge back-loaded contracts to Santana, Beltran, Perez, K-Rod and Bay, the Mets have $85 million tied up on those five players alone in 2011. That leaves $40 million for improvements, but in reality it’s only $9 million after you deduct what’s owed to Reyes, Wright and Castillo.
Just $9 million dollars to fill 17 other roster spots…
Now think about the big raises Mike Pelfrey and Pedro Feliciano will get in arbitration this offseason… Then throw in huge raises for R.A. Dickey and Angel Pagan, two of the teams best performing players…
Who would you rather have next season, Feliciano who will earn over $3 million or Takahashi for about half that amount? I don’t see how the Mets can afford to keep both given their dire payroll situation.
I’m putting my money on Takahashi, but the pessimist in me believes the Mets will let him go and hand Feliciano an undeserved two-year deal instead.