Sports Hochi is reporting that the Chicago Cubs may be reaching a deal with Ken Takahashi. It would most likely be a 1-year, ML contract. From the sounds of the article, it seems as though the Cubs might be looking towards Takahashi as a starter, specifically the spot that was opened when Jason Marquis was traded.
The article goes on by saying that the Mets and Orioles were also in talks with Takahashi, but that the Cubs were the most appealing because they have Kosuke Fukudome on the roster.
The Cubs are hoping to have Takahashi ready to take part in Spring Training and will most likely reassess where Takahashi will ultimately fit. Takahashi is more or less a starter by trade, but he does have experience throwing out of the pen as well.
The article also mentions that the Cubs are taking a look at Ken Kadokura (ex-Yomiuri Giant).
Incidentally, as far as I can tell, Sports Hochi is the only online Japanese source carrying this information at the moment.
3:44PM JST UPDATE: The press has tracked Takahashi down at the Oono Training Facilities in Hatsukaichi City, Hiroshima Prefecture. When asked about the possibility of signing with the Cubs, Takahashi said, "I have no information about what's been written in the papers. Right now, I'm only focused on training to build up my body." He did say that he spoke with his MLB rep on the 11th and but that he really didn't know anything about the rumored connection with the Cubs. "It's true, I'm worried about where I'll be playing. If it takes the rest of this month, so be it."
Now this doesn't mean there is no deal in the works. But if you ask me, the fact that he has no idea what's going on leads me to believe that things aren't quite as close as the media is making them out to be.