The New York Mets pitching priorities start with resigning free agent Hisanori Takahashi, the teams MVP (Most Versatile Pitcher) because the deadline to sign him is October 31.
The Japanese rookie did it all in 2010, long reliever, starter and finally, closer, but his decision to switch agents this week point to him leaving the Mets. He has said that he wants to be a full time starter, but the Mets have made it clear that they cannot make that promise to him.
Mets fans would prefer him in the pen (as that’s where he pitched best), but its not their choice. It is his choice and his decision to sign with agent Arn Tellem, who has represented several Japanese players, could be an indication that he is going to test the free agent market.
Takahashi was best when coming out of the pen, converting all eight of his save opportunities and was great early in the season in long relief. In 57.1 innings as a reliever he had a record of 6-2 with a 2.04 ERA allowing just 2 homeruns. Once he took over as the closer he had an ERA of 0.81 in 20 appearances (22.1 innings).
In his 12 starts he threw 64.2 innings and went 4-4 with a 5.01 ERA and allowed 11 homeruns. After throwing 12 scoreless innings in his first two starts against the Yankees and Phillies, he allowed 11 runs in just nine innings during his next two starts. This up and down pattern continued his entire stint in the rotation. He was never able to string together more than two good starts, or more than two bad starts.
The reason for the odd free agency date is due to an agreement the Mets made with him when he was signed to a minor-league contract in February of this year. If he wasn’t signed to an extension by October 31, then he would be prohibited from re-signing with the Mets and appearing in the majors before May 15.
In essence if the Mets can’t sign him by Sunday, he’s going to be somewhere else come opening day and it will add to the disaster that was 2010 for the Mets.