No decision needs to be made until next week, but Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times reports that the Angels are leaning toward Hisanori Takahashi as the rotation replacement for demoted starter Joel Pineiro.
Takahashi was a veteran starter in Japan prior to coming to MLB at age 35 last season, but he had a 5.01 ERA in 12 starts for the Mets. He’s had more success in the bullpen for the Mets and Angels, throwing 106 innings with a 2.64 ERA and 100/41 K/BB ratio.
Counting on him as a starter down the stretch is an iffy proposition and throwing Takahashi right into the fire with a Wednesday start against the Yankees is especially iffy, but DiGiovanna writes that the Angels aren’t very confident in any of their potential Pineiro replacements in the minors.
Asked if he’d be ready to make the start, Takahashi replied: “I could throw 100 pitches. I don’t know what would happen a couple of days after that, but I could throw 100 pitches.”
The Mets signed left-hander Matt Purke to a minor league deal, the team announced Friday. Purke will also receive an invitation to spring training, where he could presumably beef up the club’s left-handed relief options alongside Jerry Blevins and Josh Smoker.
Purke has not appeared in the majors since 2016, when he was used in a dozen relief appearances by the White Sox. The 27-year-old racked up a 5.50 ERA, 6.0 BB/9 and 7.5 SO/9 in his first 18 innings with the team, and was demoted to Triple-A Charlotte in June to finish out the season. He spent the entire 2017 season in Triple-A as well, showing more promise with a 3.84 ERA, 3.8 BB/9 and 11.0 SO/9 in 48 appearances.
While Purke may not amount to much more than a depth piece in New York’s ‘pen, the veteran lefty figures to be part of the Mets’ new bullpen-first strategy next year. Reports from MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo indicate that the club will be focusing on improving their relief options in order to ease the workload of their starting pitchers, and will likely add a few more arms before the offseason comes to a close.