According to Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports, the Cubs have agreed to sign left-hander Hisanori Takahashi to a minor league contract. The deal includes an invite to spring training.
Takahashi posted a lousy 5.54 ERA over 51 relief appearances this season between the Angels and Pirates. However, he compiled solid secondary numbers, including a 52/14 K/BB ratio in 50 1/3 innings.
Takahashi had a 3.44 ERA with the Angels in 2011 and a 3.61 ERA with the Mets during his first season stateside in 2010, so it wouldn’t be surprising to see him win a bullpen spot. The southpaw turns 38 in April.
Veteran reliever Fernando Rodney has been designated for assignment, the Athletics announced Saturday. In a corresponding move, the club selected the contract of lefty reliever Wei-Chung Wang from Triple-A Las Vegas.
Rodney, 42, struggled to find his footing at the start of his second season with the A’s. He appeared in 17 games this spring, but harbored an unsightly 9.42 ERA during the span of just 14 1/3 innings, flanked by an equally disheartening 7.5 BB/9 against his 8.8 SO/9. While the right-hander isn’t far removed from his last productive campaign in the majors — as evidenced by the cumulative 3.36 ERA and 25 saves he delivered for the Twins and A’s in 2018 — the club evidently felt ready to take things in a different direction this season.
It’s still unclear whether this will mark the end of Rodney’s time in Major League Baseball; if so, he’ll finish a 17-year track in the majors with three All-Star designations, 908 career strikeouts, and 325 career saves (best among all active pitchers and 18th-best overall).
Without Rodney, the Athletics will look to former Brewers reliever Wang to bolster a bullpen that currently ranks fifth-best in the American League. The 27-year-old lefty hasn’t stepped on a major-league mound since 2017, but recently impressed in Triple-A after inking a minors contract with the team in February. He holds a 3.75 ERA, 2.3 BB/9, and 8.3 SO/9 through his first 24 innings with the organization.