Fossum Demoted, Takahashi Promoted

Lefthander Casey Fossum, who pitched 2 2/3 innings in relief on Sunday, has been DFA’d to make room for LHP and Japanese import Ken Takahashi.

Presumably, Fossum will pass through waivers without a taker and report back to AAA Buffalo. His sparkling 2.25 ERA belied the fact he allowed 3 of 8 inherited runners to score, and overall was underwhelming in his short stint with the Mets.

ken-takahashi-mugThe Mets were hot on the trail of Takahashi as long ago as last November, but the Blue Jays were the first to sign him. The Jays were also the first team to release him, late in March, and the Mets pounced on the 40-year-old LOOGY. In 6 games with the Bisons, Takahashi threw 11 2/3 innings, allowing 10 hits, 6 walks, striking out 9, and posting a 0.77 ERA.

The ERA is nice, but those other numbers are a little discomforting.

The move was necessary, and makes a lot of sense, because Fossum likely would be unavailable until at least Tuesday or Wednesday, he won’t be claimed, and the Mets could use an extra arm in the bullpen — so why not promote another paint can to slap onto the wall? Clearly, they did not learn anything about their pitching options from the extended looks given in spring training.

Joe Janish began MetsToday in 2005 to provide the unique perspective of a high-level player and coach -- he earned NCAA D-1 All-American honors as a catcher and coached several players who went on to play pro ball. As a result his posts often include mechanical evaluations, scout-like analysis, and opinions that go beyond the numbers. Follow Joe's baseball tips on Twitter at @onbaseball and at the On Baseball Google Plus page.
  1. mic April 26, 2009 at 10:48 pm
    3 inherited runners scored…..I think its time for a schoenweis reminder
  2. mic April 26, 2009 at 11:00 pm
    PS- humberto Sanchez was DFA’d also by the Yanks.
  3. murph April 27, 2009 at 12:07 am
    3 of 8 inherited runners scored makes me wonder:

    Does anyone know what the league average is?
    What is the benchmark for an “acceptable” percentage of inherited runners scored?
    Obviously, zero is the goal, and 100% is the worst possible, but what is the range? What do the elite middle relievers average?
    What did Schoenweiss, Heilman, Smith & Sanchez average?

  4. Patrick April 27, 2009 at 12:46 am
    Actually Ken struck out a few more guys than I had expected, though this is AAA, early in the season, in a cold climate we’re talking about. Didn’t he make a start for Buffalo?
  5. isuzudude April 27, 2009 at 8:30 am
    Murph: your questions seem like a job for upson, who has provided great statistical analysis regarding relief pitching in his posts in the past. Wish I could help.

    Patrick: Takahashi did not have a start with Buffalo, but he was used in a few long relief roles with some success. He’s essentially going to be the exact same thing Fossum was – a long relief option and a situational LOOGY.

    With Fossum’s likely inability to pitch in the upcoming Florida series, I understand the move to DFA him. But with the righty-heavy hitting Marlins, wouldn’t it have been a better idea to promote a RHP for the pen instead of the LHP Takahashi? Someone with options, like Connor Robertson or Carlos Muniz? The only lefties Florida sports in their starting lineup are Hermida and Baker, so I’m not sure why Omar felt like Takahashi was so sorely needed for this 3-game series. Then when this series ended, the RHP could have been optioned back to Buffalo and Takahashi could have been recalled to provide backup against a more appropriate lineup, the Phillies.


    Oh, sorry, that was just Omar dropping the ball on my feet again…

  6. joe April 27, 2009 at 9:07 am
    I get the feeling that the Mets want to see Takahashi in a big league game before throwing him out there against the likes of Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Raul Ibanez, and Matt Stairs.

    It’s funny … Philly picked up all those LH bats, it almost seems like they dared the Mets to find a LOOGY.

  7. joe April 27, 2009 at 9:13 am
    Murph, re: inherited runners, an “acceptable” number is stranding around 75%. Scho would routinely allow about 50% of IR to score.


    BTW, pointing out Fossum’s inherited runners scoring was a bit harsh on my part, since 2 of the 3 came on that throwing error by David Wright. Even if Wright made the play, at least one would have scored, but, heck, Fossum got the weak grounder, it was just in a tough spot.

  8. upson April 27, 2009 at 10:06 am
    ‘dude: Thanks for the confidence in me, but that kind of analysis is not happening anytime soon. The thing is, right now, I only have access to the data on each team’s level, not on individual pitcher’s level. Unfortunately, it would take much more time that I currently have to process the necesary data.

    Concerning Takahashi recall, I have one comment and one question. First, I read somewhere (but am unable to locate it right now) that Takahashi, despite being a LHP is actually much better against right-handed batters with ability to induce ground balls. If this is true, this would explain why he is called up against the Marlins.

    Second, I am not quite sure what happens if he performs well. The reports are that Redding will be activated within 10 days. I understand that Fossum will clear the waivers, but if Takahashi is good, he might not. Hence, I am a bit surprised that they did not wait with Fossum until Redding’s activation – especially if it’s really imminent.

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