According to Patrick Newman of NPB Tracker, Mets SP/RP Hisanori Takahashi would like to stay with the Mets, but wants a two year deal.
Initially, Takahashi sounded like someone who wanted to test free agency and pursue a chance to start somewhere else rather than remain with the Mets to be a reliever. It seems that his stance has softened somewhat, but in exchange he now desires the security of a two year deal.
The Mets uncovered a gem in Takahashi, and although he is a free agent and not arbitration eligible, the Mets do have a current exclusive negotiating window to sign him. But the clock is ticking and when he hits the free agent market, the bidding will be fast and furious for this versatile and valuable bullpen addition.
He has done everything the Mets have asked of him ranging from starting pitcher, long reliever, short man, setup man and he ended the season as the team’s closer. I don’t believe we’ve ever had a Mets pitcher who wore all those hats in the same season.
Adding to his overall value is the fact that he’s a southpaw — a very valuable commodity in a division that feature’s many of the league’s premier left-handed sluggers, Tak was lights-out and held them to a .216 batting average and 0.60 ERA.
Takahashi earned just $1 million dollars for the 2010 season, but a two-year deal could see him fetch anywhere between $5 – $8 million smackers. Also, when you consider that he will be 36 next season, his return isn’t virtually assured for a team that already has $130 million in guaranteed contracts on the books for 2011 and is looking for some cheap bargains.
The Japanese veteran went 10-6 with a 3.61 ERA in 53 games including 12 starts in 2010. But as reliever, he was off the charts going 6-2 with a 2.01 ERA and eight saves in 41 relief appearances.
He held left handed hitters to just a .217 batting average while right handed hitters hit .264 against him.
In my opinion, this is a no-brainer. We’re never going to out-slug the Phillies — not unless they bring those fences in. So that leaves pitching as our ticket to meaningful games in September. We’re a much better team with Takahashi, than without him. We already have more problems than we can handle, lets not add to them by losing Takahashi.