Two bright spots on an otherwise bleak 2010 Mets squad were pitchers Hisanori Takahashi and Robert Alan Dickey.
Both are free-agent eligible, with the deadline to negotiate with Takahashi fast approaching. When the Mets signed Takahashi, they didn't really know what they were going to get from the Japanese lefty. However, he pitched so well in spring training that the Mets had to carry him on the 25-man roster.
His role early on was more as a long reliever, but he eventually cracked the starting rotation. In his first 12 innings as a starter, he did not give up a run, and that was against the Yankees and the Phillies.
He hit a rough patch for a while but later settled very nicely into the back end of the bullpen. He even converted on all eight of his save opportunities, further adding to his value.
He finished 10-6 overall with a 3.61 ERA and eight saves. Not bad for a 35-year-old rookie.
But that's the thing: He's 35. Can the Mets count on Takahashi getting the job done for another two years?
Plus, there have been rumors that Takahashi wants a starting role. If the Mets cannot guarantee this, there might be another team that can.
Based on his year, I'd like to see Alderson offer Takahashi a one-year deal with an option for 2012. So far, the Mets have just offered a one-year deal. Maybe the option would sit better with Takahashi.
He can be a valuable member of our pitching staff, whether as a starter, long reliever, eighth inning guy or even closer. Hopefully, Sandy and Hisanori can come to an agreement.
Now onto Mr. Dickey. Dickey had a stellar year for the Amazin's. But how long can his success continue?
Dickey finished 11-9, but if the Mets could have given him some more run support, his record could have been better. He posted a 2.84 ERA and had two complete games, including his memorable one-hitter of the Phillies on August 13.
Since the Mets could use some stability from their starting staff, they'd be wise to re-sign Dickey. But is a two-year deal too long?
Like Takahashi, Dickey is getting up there in age; however, neither Takahashi nor Dickey have pitching styles that will necessarily generate longevity issues. Takahashi relies on hitting spots and changing speeds while Dickey relies on baffling opposing hitters with the knuckleball.
Just like with Takahashi, I'd like to see Alderson offer a one-year deal with an option to Dickey. Hopefully, the Mets have learned their lesson about signing pitchers who have been inconsistent over their entire career to multi-year deals. (Oliver Perez ring any bells?)
I'm not comparing Takahashi or Dickey to Perez in any way, shape or form, except I guess that both Perez and Takahashi are left-handed.
When it comes down to it, if the only way to retain these players is with guaranteed two-year deals, I'd say go for it. They won't command extremely large salaries and have already proven their worth to this organization. To be two of the only bright spots from a year with very few bright spots to begin with is saying something.
So get it done, Sandy: Stabilize the pitching staff by bringing back Takahashi and Dickey. Pitching wins championships as we witnessed with the San Francisco Giants.
Pelfrey, Niese, Dickey and a healthy Santana do not exactly compare well to Lincecum, Cain, Sanchez and Bumgarner (Barry Zito is a big joke; good thing the Mets didn't sign him when they had the chance).
But with experience, this staff has plenty of potential, especially if Takahashi gets a few spot starts along the way.