According to Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com, the Red Sox are expressing interest in another Japanese pitcher. The pipeline the Sox have built from Japan is as strong as ever and Hisanori Takahashi may be the next to take the overseas flight to Boston. The 34 year-old pitcher has expressed interest in signing a major league deal this off-season and interest has gathered from a handful of clubs (Orioles, Dodgers, Mets, Red Sox and Giants).
Takahashi is a lefty starting pitcher for the Yomiuri Giants, which has produced several MLB players, including the 2 Hideki’s, Matsui and Okajima. Takahashi had a solid year in 2009, finishing with a 2.94 era and a 10-6 record while playing in the Tokyo Dome, which is notorius for being tough on a pitcher’s stats.
What is most intriguing for the Sox, is that Takahashi expressed interest in pitching out of the bullpen in the U.S., which is where the Sox could use a lefty arm. Takahashi would be a nice veteran filler in the bullpen and as a lefty, would provide added value when Francona is trying to match-up with hitters late in a ballgame. It would be an easy sell for the Sox to bring Takahashi to Boston, because of the native Japanese pitchers already on the roster.
These reports are preliminary, but whenever a Japanese pitcher is looking to come to the U.S., Boston ends up front and center in the negotiations. If Takahashi wants to pitch in 2010, however, he will probably try and sign within the next 2 weeks before Spring Training.