Sunday, December 17, 2017

Report: Lions select Takagi as compensation for Nogami

Takagi (left) is the newest Seibu Lions player
The Saitama Seibu Lions loss of Ryoma Nogami in free agency meant the team had to make a decision on compensation. It was either take ¥30 million or go with ¥20 million and an unprotected player on the Yomiuri Giants roster.

To complete the transaction, the Kyojin announced that the Lions took P Hayato Takagi as their compensation selection on Monday afternoon.

Takagi, 28, was a third round shakaijin draft pick by the Giants in 2014. In his rookie year of 2015, he went 9-10 with a 3.19 ERA and threw 163.2 innings as a starter. He regressed in his sophomore season, going 5-9 with a 4.31 ERA.

Last year, his season was cut short to 16 games as Takagi injured himself early in the year, where the ball hit his hand while attempting a sacrifice bunt. He registered 27.1 innings with a 2.63 as he threw out of the bullpen when returning from his injury. When contract negotiations took place, Takagi's agreement is slated to net him ¥37 million for the 2018 season.

"Takagi was the best player available and if he can win around 10 games, he can fill the hole left by Nogami," Seibu Lions General Manager Haruhiko Suzuki said. "Hatsuhiko Tsuji asked for Takagi from the very beginning and I agreed with him."
Right handed opposing hitters have hit only .158 against Takagi while lefties hit .282 against him. Takagi specializes in a fork ball and his fastball can hit a max velocity of 153 kph (95 mph). He can also throw a slider, curve and a changeup.

This is the first time the Lions have taken a player in compensation after losing someone in free agency since the end of 2013, where Hideaki Wakui and Yasuyuki Kataoka went to the Chiba Lotte Marines and Giants, respectively. The Lions took Taiki Nakago from Chiba while they selected Ryota Wakiya when losing Kataoka.

Given his age and experience in the league, Takagi is two years younger than Nogami (30) and has more than four years of  control with less than three years of ichi-gun service time. The 2017 season might've been Nogami's peak year and given the way his track record is, he is a No. 3 pitcher at best who can eat innings.

Personally, I thought the Giants were going to protect Takagi even when seeing one writer's list. This is a best-case scenario that I didn't think would happen as Takagi was exposed for the taking. The Lions can easily slow Takagi anywhere from the rotation or bullpen if needed.


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