Because of a clause in Hisanori Takahashi’s contract the Mets have until Sunday to agree to a new deal with the left-hander or they’re prohibited from signing him until May 15. In other words, he’ll either sign by Sunday or be playing for another team in 2011.
Further complicating things is that Takahashi switched agents yesterday, going from Peter Greenberg and Ed Greenberg to Arn Tellem in a move that Dan Martin of the New York Post suggests makes him even less likely to remain with the Mets.
Takahashi is 36 years old, so a multi-year contract would obviously be risky, but after starring in Japan for a decade he proved to be a very solid pitcher in his first MLB season. He began the year in the bullpen, moved into the rotation for a dozen starts around midseason, and then stepped into the closer role following Francisco Rodriguez’s season-ending thumb injury. Overall he went 10-6 and converted 8-of-8 save opportunities with a 3.61 ERA and 114/43 K/BB ratio in 122 innings.
Clayton Kershaw had nothing left to prove when he exited the mound during his last Cactus League start on Friday. He finished camp with a 0.00 ERA, made all the more impressive after he extended his scoreless streak to 21 1/3 innings following 6 2/3 frames of one-hit ball against the Royals.
In six spring training starts this year, the Dodgers southpaw racked up 12 hits, four walks and 23 strikeouts. His velocity appeared to fluctuate between the high-80s and low-90s from start to start, but manager Dave Roberts told reporters that he expects Kershaw to get back up to the 93 m.p.h. range next week. Kershaw is tabbed for his eighth consecutive Opening Day start on Thursday.
The 30-year-old lefty is poised to enter his 11th season with the club in 2018. He went 18-4 in 27 starts last year and turned in a 2.31 ERA, 1.5 BB/9 and 10.4 SO/9 over 175 innings. He suffered his fair share of bumps and bruises along the way, including a lower back strain that required a five-week stay on the disabled list.
The Dodgers will open their season against the Giants on Thursday, March 29 at 7:08 PM ET. Given the sudden rash of injuries that hit the Giants’ rotation earlier today, Kershaw’s Opening Day opponent has not yet been announced.