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.
The Blue Jays’ playoff hopes were dashed a long, long time ago, but they’re happy to play spoiler as the end of the regular season draws near. On Thursday evening, the Jays trailed the Rays 8-2 entering the bottom of the ninth inning. They proceeded to put up a seven-spot to walk off 9-8 winners, handing the Rays a devastating loss in the midst of their quest to reach the postseason.
Dwight Smith started things off with a leadoff double against Jaime Schultz. Rowdy Tellez followed up by doubling him in. Jonathan Davis was hit by a pitch and then, after Reese McGuire struck out, Danny Jansen hit a three-run homer to left field. Enter Sergio Romo. Romo struck out Richard Ureña, but then allowed a single to Kendrys Morales, a two-run homer to Lourdes Gurriel, then a walk-off solo homer to Justin Smoak.
According to FanGraphs, the Jays had a 0.4 percent chance of winning entering the bottom of the ninth inning. Their probability rose to a measly 4.8 percent after Morales singled. Gurriel’s homer made it 53.8 percent, an increase of a whopping 49 percent.
After the awful loss, the Rays fall to 6.5 games behind the Athletics — who won 21-3 over the Angels earlier — for the second Wild Card in the American League. They have 10 games remaining.