Thursday, January 15, 2004

Shingo Takatsu 

Japan's new all-time saves leader, Shingo Takatsu, threw for scouts from 26 MLB teams yesterday in Irvine, CA. He currently has a $2.6M offer to return to the Yakult Swallows as their closer, but he wants to see if he can land a job in MLB. If he does, it will likely be for less money, and as a setup man.

A look at the stats of this 35-year-old sidearming sinkerballer shows that he is probably headed back to Japan. 21 walks, 26 strikeouts and 42 hits in 42 innings look like the stats of someone who has the "proven closer" label on him, and not someone who has great closer stuff. Think Danny Graves and not Kazuhiro Sasaki. And here is what Daimajin did in Japan. Over his last two seasons with Yakult, Kaz pitched nearly 80 innings, giving up 51 hits, 19 walks, and striking out 112! That earned him a 3-year, $14M+ contract from the M's.

A better comparison might be Shigetoshi Hasegawa who made $575,000 in 1997 in his first season with the Angels and is probably much more in line with the type of money Takatsu could expect if he comes over. I'm guessing that an 80% paycut is too tough to "Swallow" and that's where Takatsu remains unless a team looking to make a little "splash" ups the ante a bit and lays down $1M+ for their share of the Japanese public.

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