2009 Analysis: Ken Takahashi
Ken Takahashi is the lefthanded version of Elmer Dessens: a well-traveled, international man of intrigue, with ordinary stuff, who won’t embarrass himself — but won’t have much of an impact on a championship club, either.
The Mets were in dire need of another lefthander for the Jerry Manuel Matchup Strategy of late innings management, but it turned out that the 40-year-old Japanese southpaw pitched better against righties (.156 batting average against) than vs. lefties (.302). That put a major wrench into Manuel’s plans, and made it difficult for the push-button manager to figure out how to use Takahashi.
In some ways, Takahashi resembles Darren Oliver — another lefthanded starter turned reliever who pitched better against righthanded hitters. In 2009, Takahashi’s role was stopgap — pitching for the big league club mainly by default — no other options were available. Will he be with the Mets come spring training in 2010? Not likely, but you never know with this organization.