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We Have Seen the Future and His Name Is Hisanori Takahashi

Mike SteffanosMonday, March 8, 2010
By Mike Steffanos

Despite the fact that he has made only one spring training start we here at Mike's Mets are ready to completely give up on Oliver Perez.

Sure, at first we actually were impressed that Perez was pitching with better balance and throwing strikes. We were also happy that he was hitting the low 90s on the radar gun and thought he was showing some progress with his changeup -- a pitch that will be vital to any hopes of Ollie improving his splits against right-handed hitters.

Indeed, I have to confess to you that I actually was feeling decent about Perez' 3 innings against the Nats on Sunday after it was over, especially since it was only his first official outing of the spring. The combination of common sense and four decades of being a baseball fan had lulled me into a false sense of belief that spring training was about working on things that will help you win games when they count.

I want to thank the local media for waking me up and showing me the error of my ways. Already in midseason form with predictions of gloom and metaphoric Armageddon, particularly the New York Post, I promise to spend the rest of spring training living and dying on every pitch, batted ball and play in the field.

If a rookie gets a couple of hits one day, I will demand a roster spot for the kid. Of course, if he goes 0-10 later in the spring I will with equal force insist that Minaya trade him before his value plummets to nothing. I'm confident that heavy consumption of alcohol will get me past any misgivings my rational mind may have about such irrational thinking.

Bill Madden, who is certainly old enough to know better, has taken a precious day away from his endless Yankees coverage to remind Mets fans like myself that we have no reason for optimism, and who am I to argue with such a venerable representative of the local fourth estate?

Fortunately, I feel if I can make harsh judgments about Perez based on so little, I can allow myself to indulge in some Hisanori-mania based on the Japanese southpaw's impressive 3 innings in relief of Ollie.

If we take Mr. Takahashi's stat line and project it out over 200 innings, we can expect him to allow only 67 hits while striking out an amazing 400 batters and walking none. Now I know what you're thinking, it's probably unreasonable to expect him to not allow an earned run all season, but I'm confident that very, very few of those 67 baserunners will ever reach home plate.

Obviously, the Mets have now found the number two starter they have been looking for -- Johan Santana. With him slotting in behind his fellow southpaw Takahashi, the Mets are now the unmistakable favorite to represent the National League in this season's fall classic.

This should also get Santana off the hook for allegedly answering "Johan" when posed the question who was the best pitcher in the NL east. Clearly he had answered "Hisanori" and the reporters misquoted him.

If any of you think me rash for basing the preceding four paragraphs on only 3 innings of pitching, I would have to point out that the guys at the Post felt they could make their pronouncements about Perez based on the same amount of data.

For now, I think the only way forward is for the Mets to cut their losses with Ollie and release him immediately. Meanwhile, let's make sure to schedule upcoming spring starts so that Takahashi will be in line to pitch opening day against the Fish and Johan is ready for his start two days later.

Of course, I reserve the right to absolutely and completely about face on all of this if Perez pitches well next time out and Mr. Takahashi returns to earth. After all, that's what spring training is all about -- not the players preparing for the season, but for the local media and some fans to make snap judgments on anything that fits the narrative they're trying to create.

About Mike: I was the original writer on this web site, actually its only writer for the first 15 months of existence. Although I am grateful for the excellent contributions of my fellow writers here, I have no plans of stepping back into strictly an editorial role. I started this thing in the first place because I love to write and I love the Mets, and blogging here keeps me somewhat sane. If you haven't had enough already, more bio info can be found here.

Comments (6)

mike, i understand the thread of your blog (it's early, spring training games are about getting in shape, wins are meaningless, etc. etc) and i pretty much agree with u.However, the mets (warthen and manuel) kind of played into this by saying how he "threw strikes" on 67 per cent of his pitches.They should have said ollie has to get better, but todays start was just about getting some work.As for takahashi, he did show control of 3 pitches and if he can do it a few more times in the spring and ollie bombs out the rest of the spring, i'd give him a shot at perez's spot.Of course, the way i feel about perez, i'd rather see anybody (figueroa, misch, nieve, jay hook, just kidding) take his spot.

Nicely stated Mike. There is something sickening about the way so many go about reporting and commenting on NY Mets baseball. Being someone who prefers to look at the glass as half full, I simply look at the ninet realistic candidates for the Mets starting rotation. Realistically, there are five lefties in the mix (Santana/Perez/Niese/Takahashi/Misch) and there are four righties (Maine/Pelfrey/Figueroa/Nieve). While I will admit that a frontline 2nd arm in the Bronson Arroyo ilk would be nice, there are some very good arms in the mix with lefty/righty balance. In fact, having three (or four) southpaws in the rotation would suit this observer just fine. I have been looking around at other rosters and cannot find any team with nine realistic candidates for a rotation. Some certainly have a better first three (or four--the Phillies), but there is not the overall depth. Additionally, the Mets have some pretty good depth now in the their AAA and AA mix. Even more importantly, a few of these starter candidates can pitch effectively out of the bullpen (Figueroa/Nieve/Misch). No reason to believe that Takahashi could not add a lot of depth to the pen with his assortment of pitches, excellent control and decent velocity. I still think John Maine would make a very good 8th Inning setup man if others seem to make for a more powerful left-handed rotation. And one thing is for sure, the Mets are not going to give Oliver Perez more than a handful of ineffective starts. He will most certainly get the Steve Trachsel treatment.

Mike, you forgot to mention, Ike Davis is on his way to the hall of fame, with his stats that he has shown in his spring at bats.Your in good form, and ready for the season.Atta boy, Mike.

Mike, did you see this: http://hotfootblog.com/post/435483036/mike-at-mikes-mets-echos-my-sentiments-i

Some people need to go to a dictionary and look up the word "satire."

i have to say you know how to write i little too much your article has lots of substance great details just too many words i
found myself wondering away from the text. allow us to envision your ideas. not spend so much time reading a real met fan since
polo grounds we have suffered worst before

Mike - Everyone's entitled to his opinion, but fred figueroa's critique immediately reminded me of this scene from "Amadeus":


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