Well, 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.