The Mets have come to agreement with Hisanori Takahashi,
late of the Yomiuri Giants, on a minor league deal worth $1 million if he makes the team. Takahashi, who turns 35 in April, was 79-66 with a 3.70 ERA in 245 career games in the NPB. He’s a soft-tossing lefty who most have said would make a better reliever in
the Majors than a starter, but Takahashi has said that he’d like a chance to start.
And New York may provide him with the best chance. Of all of his potential suitors — which have included the Dodgers, Red Sox, Orioles and Padres — the Mets may have the biggest holes in the rotation. Well, maybe Baltimore would be better, but I could see him starting for the Mets. And to the extent such things make a difference in anyone’s mind, the Mets have signed more Japanese players than anyone over the past ten years, including Ryota Igarashi, who was Takahashi’s teammate on the Giants, this year.
Pablo Sandoval could be tabbed to play second base in the near future, per a report from John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle. According to Shea, Sandoval has been spotted taking grounders at second during pre-game warm-ups and may be considering switching to the keystone on a part-time basis.
It wouldn’t be the weirdest thing the 31-year-old corner infielder has done this year — that distinction goes to the flawless inning of relief he pitched in a blowout loss against the Dodgers last month. But it would represent a pretty notable departure from his comfort zone even so; Sandoval has primarily manned first and third base throughout his 11-year career in the majors and has also taken a few reps at DH during his resurgence with the Giants in 2018.
Of course, this wouldn’t necessarily be a permanent switch for Sandoval. As Shea points out, the Giants are thin on middle infielders after losing Joe Panik to a torn UCL in his left thumb and backup Alen Hanson to a left hamstring strain. Provided he can get up to speed quickly (no easy feat, according to infield coach Ron Wotus), he’d give the club some added depth behind Kelby Tomlinson and Miguel Gomez until Panik is ready to take the field again. Sandoval has impressed at the plate this spring, batting a healthy .270/.329/.429 with six extra-base hits and a .757 through 70 plate appearances.