Results tagged ‘ Hisanori Takahashi ’

Angels may still be in play for bullpen help

Despite a lack of financial flexibility, the Angels continue to seek ways to address their bullpen situation.

Depending on his price, one option may be veteran closer Francisco Cordero. His agent, Bean Stringfellow, told WEEI.com on Tuesday that the Angels are one of four teams in play for the right-hander, along with the Reds — his former team, which reportedly wants him back — the Red Sox and a fourth, unidentified club.

Cordero is perhaps the best — and most expensive — free-agent reliever remaining after Ryan Madson, making the Angels the least likely fit among the above-mentioned clubs. Stringfellow told WEEI.com Cordero is looking for a multi-year deal and is only interested in going into a situation where he’s the clear-cut closer (which, in Anaheim, would mean the young Jordan Walden is supplanted).

The Angels have also reached out to the representative of former reliever Darren Oliver, a source familiar with his thinking told MLB.com. Oliver’s preference is to return to Texas, but is “not ruling out other contending teams,” the source said, adding that in order to accommodate the Angels, Oliver would be willing to defer most of his salary. Oliver put up a 2.29 ERA in 61 appearances last year, but is 41 and would give the Angels three lefties in the bullpen — along with Scott Downs and Hisanori Takahashi.

Another interesting candidate is Joel Zumaya, the former Tigers flame-thrower who missed all of 2011 after undergoing exploratory surgery on his right (throwing) elbow. Zumaya performed in front of what was believed to be about 50 scouts in Houston last Wednesday, and some of them were members of the Angels, general manager Jerry Dipoto confirmed. Someone in attendance told FOXSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal he threw his fastball from 93-96 mph and had a decent curveball and OK command.

Some other, cheaper, right-handed options in the free-agent bin: Luis Ayala, Juan Cruz, Scott Linebrink, Dan Wheeler and Jamey Wright. Most of them, however, may not sign deals until more materializes later in the offseason. Sources told MLB.com the Angels have yet to reach out to Ayala or Wheeler in particular.

The Angels previously added LaTroy Hawkins – on a one-year, $3 million contract — in hopes of improving a bullpen that was tied for the American League lead in blown saves last season. Dipoto previously said he’s looking for someone to “complement Jordan Walden; not replace Jordan Walden.”

Alden Gonzalez 

Big move looks unlikely for Angels

CLEVELAND – There has been considerable talk about the need of another bat or a reliever, but Angels manager Mike Scioscia seems content with his roster. Before Monday night’s game against the Indians, Scioscia didn’t dismiss outright the notion of a non-waiver Trade Deadline deal being made by Sunday – but didn’t sound overly encouraged or even enthused about the prospect.

Owner “Arte Moreno has spent enough money,” Scioscia said. “We need to get it in-house. It’s realistic. It’s not a wing and a prayer. I think we’ll get better, and I’ve already seen signs of it.”

In Scioscia’s mind, a return to form by Fernando Rodney after missing five weeks with upper back issues “is like a huge trade acquisition.” Rodney couldn’t have looked much better in his first appearance since returning to the bullpen, striking out two of the three hitters he faced in Baltimore on Saturday with fastballs only.

“It’s hard to get a guy who can throw anywhere from middle [relief] to late in the game and have the possibility to close,” Scioscia said, referring to Rodney. He brings back-end balance in the form of two right-handers (with closer Jordan Walden) and two lefties (Scott Downs and Hisanori Takahashi).”

There have been reports connecting the Angels to the Padres and Heath Bell, but the Angels have been down that road before and the asking price was way too high for their taste.

Scisocia seems convinced the Angels’ offense has the right pieces but just needs Bobby Abreu, Torii Hunter, Maicer Izturis and Vernon Wells to produce closer to the level of their track records. – Lyle Spencer

Angels surveying relief market

ANAHEIM — Fernando Rodney makes his second Minor League rehab appearance on Wednesday night from a strained back muscle, pitching for Inland Empire in the California League.

How Rodney looks and feels could play into how active the Angels are in pursuit of a reliever by the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline. Rodney, if he’s healthy, can be the bridge to Scott Downs and Jordan Walden in the eighth and ninth innings.

Angels manager Mike Scioscia indicated on Wednesday that the bullpen is one area the club is exploring in the market. General manager Tony Reagins has been spending a lot of time on the phone, Scioscia said.

“There are some areas as a team where we’d like to see an upgrade,” Scioscia said. “I’m not going to say what it is, because we have guys playing there now. There are a number of areas that are hopefully going to come up to help us have a deeper club. We’re definitely looking at depth in the bullpen.”

But at what cost? The Angels would have to be convinced they have a legitimate shot at toppling the high-flying Rangers to commit another premium prospect for a setup reliever. Hisanori Takahashi was superb in the role on Saturday in Oakland. 

Veteran southpaw Horacio Ramirez, summoned from Triple-A Salt Lake, hopes to be one of the answers, joining Downs and Takahashi on the left side in Scioscia’s balanced bullpen.– Lyle Spencer

 

Roundup: Super Twos and more

During the current five-day period when free agents can only negotiate with their own teams, the Hot Stove is starting to simmer, but can only get so hot. 
Not to worry, there’s still plenty of action that could happen this week for players who could choose to resign with their current team, including Yankees captain Derek Jeter, who is expected to stay in the Bronx. The only real question is, at what price? 
Outside of the Jeter speculation, much of the news on Friday surrounded the designation of 20 players as Super Twos. This will allow these players such as Reds outfielder Jay Bruce and Indians closer Chris Perez, to become arbitration-eligible a year early. Subsequently, they’ll be eligible for arbitration for four seasons, instead of the usual three. Generally, this will result in a much higher pay day for these senior second-year players. 
Here’s a rundown of what’s dominating headlines around the league: 
  • The Yankees negotiations with Jeter are expected to begin within a day or two, SI.com’s Jon Heyman suggested on Twitter. Jeter’s actual value to the Bombers is unquestionable, but his monetary value is still to be determined.  
  • Hisanori Takahashi, who has until midnight to work out a deal with the Mets, is reportedly asking for a three-year deal worth $4-5 million, according to Heyman. The Mets have offered Takahashi a one-year deal. According to the unique stipulation in his contract, if the two sides can’t come to an agreement tonight, Takahashi wouldn’t be eligible to re-sign with the Mets and pitch in the Majors until May 15, 2011.  
  • The Indians officially outrighted outfielder Andy Marte to the Minors. The former heralded prospect could be done in Cleveland and now qualifies to be a free agent. Marte never seemed to reach his potential with the Indians, batting just .224 over his five seasons in Cleveland. It remains to be seen if he’s really done with the Tribe, but there’s always the chance that a change of scenery could help Marte finally blossom. 
  • The Nats are expected to be a player for free agent pitcher Brandon Webb, according to Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post. Webb could be the type of low-risk starter with a big upside the Nats have been seeking to anchor their young pitching staff. 
Stay tuned to all the Hot Stove action on MLB.com
–Bailey Stephens
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