Angels Watched Pot Begins to Boil

The Angels first real move of the hot stove season was signing left handed pitcher Hisanori Takahashi, formerly of the Mets. After last year’s trades and free agency losses, we definitely needed a lefty. A quick skim of the roster yields one long string of Rs and Scott Kazmir and Kaz is more of a big question mark than an L we can count on. Which Kaz will take the mound?

I admit I know little to nothing about Takahashi. I know a lot more about American League players these days than National League players, for obvious reasons, and I have not been paying a lot of attention the Mets for the last several years. His stats look okay. Ten years as a successful pitcher on three championship teams with the Yomiuri Giants in Japan, Matsui’s old team followed by a year with the Mets. It looks like he was great against lefties last year for the Mets – no homeruns, a .217 average and a .270 slugging average – with less impressive stats against righties. He was 10-6 last year with the better part of that record (6-2) coming as a reliever. Is this because he’s more effective as a reliever or more indicative of the fact that he was playing for the Mets, the Angels, of course, being in a unique position to understand what an unsuccessful team can do to a good pitcher’s record? I don’t know. Win record is an important but murky stat and I have never seen the guy pitch. But I am intrigued to find out.

He seemed like a much better deal at the $5.5 million for 2 years that was previously, unofficially, announced than the $8 million reported later on Friday. Terry Smith interviewed L.A. Times Sports reporter Mike Digiovanna during Friday’s Angels Tonight broadcast and DiGiovanna predicts that at that salary the Angels actually want Takahashi for the 5th starter position. That brings up all kinds of interesting possibilities, like moving Kaz to the bullpen where he might be able to rebuild his confidence and stamina – and hopefully regain his control in the process. Better for Kaz, better for the Angels. Of course, I did notice that in the press release, the front office kept hyping Takahashi’s stats against lefties over righties and, as previously mentioned, he has a much better record as a reliever. To me, this screams reliever. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.

Tony Reagins made it clear that he thinks this is good for the Angels first move this offseason. That “first move” line was one of the best parts actually. The fans all know that the Angels front office does not comment on potential trades and signings until they are official and we know they are trying to work some offseason magic for us, but it’s nice of them to throw us a bone and confirm this assumption from time to time.

It was funny to see the Angels name listed among the offers for Mariano Rivera. The front office had to know that was never going to happen. And would it have even worked out if it did happen? Rivera’s considerable prowess vs. the Angels curse with high priced closers – which one would prevail or would they cancel each other out? But I do understand making an offer. It’s like buying a lottery ticket when the jackpot is up to $100 million or so. You don’t actually expect to win but you’d feel awfully foolish if you didn’t at least try. Then again, when you shell out $5 bucks or so for a lottery ticket it doesn’t drive the price of lottery tickets up for everyone else prompting the lottery commission to retaliate. Oy, this could get expensive, more so than originally planned I think.

* * * * *

While I wait for more news on that front, it’s time for my favorite way to while away the offseason. No Saturday night baseball? No problem, time to have folks over for a game night of the board and build your own board variety. I will defend my Catan title with fierce trade negotiations. Bwa ha ha. All your brick and wood are belong to me.

3 Comments

Glad the Angels made their “first move” of the off season. I have no doubt that there are some big ones coming – like Carl Crawford, for example?

http://janeheller.mlblogs.com

Kaz is one of those guys I always wish the best for, unless he is on the mound against us.
Thing is, Kaz is a leftie, and they always seem to think with the right side of their brain.
That can be an advantage and a fault considering which hand you pitch with or put your fork inor for dinner.
But seriously, the guy when he is on is a great pitcher. The problem is in recent years you have had to accept both Kazmirs and hope the right one for the job shows up that day on the mound.
Sure you want it to be more focused and straight lined, but lefties are not about all of that….Trust me here.
I am a Southpaw too (lol).

Rays Renegade

http://raysrenegade.mlblogs.com

Jane – I sure hope so! But a deal with Crawford is looking messier and messier as time goes by…especially after today.
Rays Renegade – That was an Annie Savoy worthy description of a leftie’s thought process. I love it! I remember how good Kaz was for the Rays and how good he was for us when he came on board at the end of 2009. It’s hard not to want the best for the guy when seems more perplexed and upset by what happened to him in 2010 than anyone. That there are two Kazes sadly makes him a perfect fit for the Angels in many ways because there are two Angels teams, the one that plays like baseball champions and the one that plays like a glorified AAA team. We just see a lot less of the latter Angels in a good season, but they’re still there. Hopefully Kaz and the Angels can find a way to be their better selves a lot more often this year.
http://blithescribe.mlblogs.com/

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