Hisanori Takahashi was a special guest on Super Urugusu (SUPER うるぐす) tonight. The showed also featured an interview with Hideki Matsui's agent, Arn Tellem.
Here are some of the notes that I managed to jot down while watching the show:
- Takahashi has not received any phone calls from team mates after he opted for International free agency.
- Takahashi wants to speak to Matsui, but he doesn't have his contract information. If there's time, he'd like to speak to Matsui during the off-season.
- Any team that signs Takahashi might want to think twice before having him face Matsui (if they ever play against each other). According to Takahashi, he has pitched to Matsui about 9 times in his career (exhibition games, intramural games) and has given up 4-5 hits. Most of those have also been home runs.
- Takahashi only started thinking about the Majors 3 years ago. When he was a kid, he never dreamed of going to the Majors because it just seemed so far away for him. But now that he's become an established pitcher in the NPB, he feels there's something lacking and wants more of a challenge. Seeing Matsui play in the Majors really made him think more about playing in the Majors. Uehara leaving for the Majors also push him further into wanting to play in the Majors.
- His wife played a huge role in his decision. If not for his wife's words of encouragement, he may not have decided to try for the Majors.
- The Giants contacted him 5 times to try and get him to stay. He received the same offers in the first four with a slightly modified offer in the 5th time. The offers were all very good, but in the end, he wanted to play in the Majors more.
- Takahashi once again said that he wanted to be a starter, mostly because that's what he knows best. He also does have experience as a reliever, but starting is what he would like to do.
- When asked about whether or not he was concerned about starting once every 5 days versus once a week at the age of 35, he said that it was just another challenge and that he was ready to take it.
- At this point, he doesn't have any stat goals he's shooting for. That will likely change once he has a better idea of where he'll be pitching next year.
- Takahashi feels his strength is in his breaking pitches, like his curve. He's not really a strike out pitcher but knows how to work the zone.
- When asked which teams he liked on a personal basis, he said the Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Yankees.
As for Tellem's interview, not much was really said that hasn't already been mentioned. But I'll go ahead and list them out.
- There really hasn't been any movement, but that's likely because most teams are still trying to sort out what their needs are. Tellem also feels that the other teams are waiting to see what the Yanks do.
- Tellem basically said not to believe what the media is currently saying with regards to how they're saying the Yanks won't re-sign Matsui or aren't interested in Matsui. As far as Tellem knows, the Yanks are very much interested in re-signing Matsui.
- Matsui does want to stay with the Yankees. If he can, he'd probably like to end his career with the Yankees.
- A sticking point has been his desire to play the field more. If Matsui stays with the Yanks, it will likely be as a DH.
- Matsui plans on casting a wide net in order to get as many offers as possible. He's also planning on treating the Yanks just as one of the other 30 teams. Matsui is ready to part with the Yankees.
- Matsui is currently thinking of himself as a DH / OF.
- The White Sox and Angels appear to be interested in Matsui.
- Matsui doesn't necessarily want the Yanks to go out of their way to fit him into their plans.
- He ultimately wants to play for a team that wants him. He's ready for a long winter.
- Matsui may have to wait until the bigger name free agents (like Matt Holliday and Jason Bay) sign. But there's also a chance that a team that can't afford the big name free agents will simply go straight after Matsui.