Monday, March 8, 2010

Takahashi's Outing Might Change Things In Camp

After yesterday's stellar performance from Hisanori Takahashi plans may have changed a bit around the Mets camp.  Against the Nationals Takahashi threw 3 scoreless innings with 6 K's and no walks, allowing only one hit.  In an article for the Newark Star-Ledger, Brian Costa quotes Jerry Manuel, "If we were to speak today, and not having much history with him, I would say that he would definitely be one of the 11 or 12 pitchers that we take...How we use him, we'll probably have to visit that at some other point. But if you said, 'Hey, Jerry, take your best 12, he'd have to be in that group somewhere.'"

Taking what Jerry said into consideration, I would tend to think the Mets would be likely to back off on Beimel and Mahay, should Takahashi put another nice outing together.  Brian Costa says, "If he makes the team as a reliever, Manuel said he could envision Takahashi being both the second situational left-hander and the long reliever. Takahashi, 34, has experience as both a starter and a reliever in Japan."

Considering the Mets need to find a set-up man, and considering the way Niese has pitched so far this spring, I find it hard to believe Takahashi will be anywhere but the bullpen.  That is, of course, assuming Ollie Perez doesn't keep getting hit hard the way he did yesterday.  Either way, between Perez, Niese and Takahashi the Mets have three lefties for three spots.  I realize Perez as a situational lefty isn't the best use of his talents, but if Takahashi and Niese outpitch him this spring, I don't think that's a horrible option either.  Although, I would assume the most likely scenario involves Niese and Perez starting while Takahashi takes to the 'pen...

At the least, the emergence of Takahashi gives the Mets options.  With the biggest positive in my mind being the potential to allow the team to use Feliciano as the primary set-up man should no one else step up, something I've been barking about for quite some time.  Also Takahashi could make it less necessary for the team to break camp with Mejia as a reliever and would afford them some time to send him down in order to develop into a top-of-the-rotation starter, like most believe he has the talent for...

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