hisanori takahashiWell, we’ve been looking for the Cubs to bring in another lefty for the bullpen …

Yahoo’s Jeff Passan reports that the Chicago Cubs have signed lefty Hisanori Takahashi to a minor league deal, and have invited him to Spring Training.

Takahashi, 37, pitched primarily with the Angels last year, and mostly ineffectively – he had a 5.54 ERA in 2012 in time split between LA and Pittsburgh. Before that, he pitched rather well in 2010 with the Mets (108 ERA+) and in 2011 with the Angels (110 ERA+). Before that, Takahashi pitched well in Japan.

Interestingly, his peripherals in 2012 suggest he was a lot better than his ERA said he was: 1.252 WHIP, 2.5 BB/9, 9.3 K/9. Indeed, his FIP was a slightly-better-than-average 3.93.

That’s the resume of a guy who could actually be a decent piece of the bullpen in 2013 for the Cubs, particularly if he’s used as a LOOGY (lefty one-out guy) – in his career, lefties have hit just .238/.283/.381 against him (though it was a bit worse in 2012), and his K/BB is 4.14. And on a minor league deal with a Spring Training invite? Zero risk? Even better.

With each successive minor league/Spring Training invite deal the Cubs put together for a pitcher – Cory Wade, Jensen Lewis, Andrew Carpenter – I like what I’m seeing more and more. These are guys who legitimately have a chance of cracking the bullpen, and, at worst, will offer excellent depth at AAA in case the injury bug strikes.

  • nkniacc13

    another lottery ticket. nothing wrong with that

  • Brian cubs fan

    good low risk move gives cubs a option since Jeff beliveau was claimed by the rangers

  • JR

    Potential flippable asset. Ha…

  • Austin

    Why do we keep signing these terrible players, we have money. We need to spend MOAR!!!!!! /s

    Another good no risk move.

  • Spencer


  • another JP

    It’s just another guy looking to regain his form but you figure these players would do anything to prove they belong in the bigs. Get a bunch of them together and some are bound to over-achieve and make it to our bullpen. Would like to see more position players signed however- we need to find a way to score at least 50 more runs this year.

  • dan

    wow spring training shoud be fun

  • Spoda17

    Damn, I need to get my resume together for Theo and Jed… I’m 42, but I can still hit 57.639 mph on the radar gun… Imma start my long toss program in the am….

    • http://www.worldseriesdreaming.com dabynsky

      If you are a lefty, they just might give you a call.

    • scorecardpaul

      Spoda17, If you are comming off of any recent arm troubles you had better start packing. Have fun in Arizona.

      • Kubphan82

        I’m a lefty who had a relatively recent AC Joint blowout, but I’m largely healed from the experience… I just turned 30… I’m a 5’9″ scrappy white guy… They’d love me right?

    • ChicagoMike702

      I’m 30 and can hit low 60’s despite a torn labrum I never had fixed… What’s Theo’s #?? Haha

      I like the signing, he barely pitched in Pitt so little exposure in the NL could help.

      Btw, what’s the record for most Japanese players on a MLB roster?

  • TheRiot2

    Wow looks like Bosio can play Russian Roulette this spring with a bullet in every chamber. The loser gets to take a permanent nap in obscurity,that’d be a zip code in any non MLB City.

  • Morken

    I really like the assortment of bullpen arms that the Cubs are allowing to compete for spots.

  • nkniacc13

    be intereting at spring training with all the non roster invites. The Cubs have made a bunch of moves with their 40 man already this offseason and may have to make a bunch more by the end of ST if some of these invites make an impression

  • farmerjon

    Soriano, Marmol, Barney and cash for Cano?

    • http://bleachernation frank hutch

      Your joking right?

    • Rizzo44

      Are you out of your mind?!?! Cano is a free agent after this year..

    • hansman1982

      Yes, please.

      Trading that mix for Cano would give me wet dreams.

      Trading away a 37 year old, an iffy closer and a defensive whiz (with no stick) for THE best 2B in the game? Give me a chance to extend Cano or pick up a compensation pick and/or prospects at the deadline?

      Yes 100 times out of 10.

      • Tommy

        I’m with hansman on that one. That’s a no-brainer.

      • farmerjon

        That was my thinking hansman, I’d
        consider the trade for granderson as well

      • King Jeff

        I’d take it even if we had to eat Soriano and Marmol’s salary to get it done.

  • Kramden

    Can’t believe you guys can get so amped over the crumbs left behind by all of the other teams.

    Is this what it’s come down to for you guys that you can draw a shred of hope by drilling down into the most mundane stats to find that lone atom in order to be supportive of the crap we’re all being fed???

    No risk signing… Blah, blah, blah! Where’s that going to get them?

    Wake me when Soler, Baez & Almora grow up.

    • mudge


    • Tom

      I wish it were as easy as you make it to be — “Wake me when Soler, Baez and Almora grow up.” That may be never.

      The fans deserve a competitive team every year. For awhile that may come through only incremental small steps until the time comes when to make bigger leaps. Here is to hopeing some off these upside potential players click and the Cubs get to take those big leaps sooner than later !

    • nkniacc13

      Part of what is encouraging is the fact that some of these are on minor league deals so its not that big of deal doesn’t hur cubs if they don’t impressin ST and on top of that it gives the Cubs a bit of depth in the fact that there are injuries where they aen’t putting players who aren’;t ready at that level.

    • frank

      Doesn’t look to me like everyone’s getting all “amped up.” Just saying it’s a decent pickup.

    • baldtaxguy

      Seems you’re the one a bit amped up.

      You ask what does a no risk signing provide? A potential benefit with….no risk.

  • http://thecubcontrarian.blogspot.com Kyle

    That is a really nice pickup. I could easily imagine him as the 2nd lefty in the pen and being nicely effective in that role.

    • Internet Random

      Did you have a breakthrough in your therapy or something?

      • http://thecubcontrarian.blogspot.com Kyle

        I’ve never had a problem saying I liked moves that I liked. They’ve just made a ton more of them this offseason than last.

  • abe

    No reason to get excited or complain. Every team has a bunch of these guys come to spring training..

  • Rizzo44

    Ehhhhhhh, I’ll take it…Rather want J.P. Howell…

    • nkniacc13

      The Cubs are likely sitll in on him.

  • Rcleven


  • thejackal

    love this siteeeeee love the humorous outbreaks too i know were all hungry for a world series and wanna spend billions of dollars right now to get it………… i believe were on the right path and i know its gonna not be next year we win it . let the big wigs do there job if we havent won a w.s in the next 6 years ill be the first in line for the boycott lol

  • Curt

    I get the depth thing but on a potentially bad team what’s the point, how does this help for 2014 when the cubs are supposed to be better,just sayin, are they making moves just to be making moves, or is there a strategy I’m not seeing to these moves.

    • CubFan Paul

      James Russell was the only LHP in the 2013 pen. There’s the strategy you’re missing.

      God forbid they field a competitive team next year.

      • hansman1982

        I really do think the Cubs are working hard to be competative but it’s the same, “Well, if these 5 things go right and only 1 thing goes wrong, we will compete”.

        • CubFan Paul

          oh yea, i know. They are NOT building a 85-95 win team, but they’re giving the team a punchers chance (at least til July)

          i would be awesome to acquire more Vizcainos and Villenuevas in July for Fujikawa, Baker, Garza, Stewart, & Dejesus (I expect Sori and Marmol to be traded soon).

          ‘the plan’ is very transparent

  • cubsklm

    How about some “flippable assets” that can hit!

    I don’t care how many reclamation pitching projects this teams signs, week after week.
    This team can’t score!

    What if, Stewart has another flop year? Soriano”s last year was a fluke and he declines?
    There will be no production out of RF and C. Throw in a .250 hitter at best at 3B.

    At best this team has improved to a 90 – 95 loss team.

  • Frank

    Waiting for the SIGN ALL THE JAPANESE RELIEVERS!!! meme.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Haha. Lim is Korean, though he did come over from the NPB. So it’s really only two at this point …

      • King Jeff

        Let’s keep it going, the KBO and NPB have a bunch of other young, high-potential arms I’d love to see the Cubs sign.

      • hansman1982


        Ben Stiller’s face with the words:

        “He was ASIAN…”

  • http://bleachernation.com someday…2015?

    Low risk, high upside, and a potential piece that can be flipped for a prospect. I like it.

  • cubzforlife

    I heard R.A. Dickey on public radio last night discussing his new book. I know the comparison is weak but this guy was all but done before he learned his pitch. There are dozens of guys that were waived, released ready to quit and somehow come back to pitch successfully. If just one of these players gets his game together hooray for us. If you can find the interview on public radio it’s a good one. Cool dude, smart.

  • FastBall

    These guys get older by the day! Are we going to sign Clemens next?

  • nkniacc13

    Im kinda wondering if we will see the cubs just play the DFA game to clear 40 man spots or if they will make any trades to clear any spots needed

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