Another interesting arm could be coming to the majors after the 2023 season.
According to Sung Min Kim, Seibu Lions pitcher Kona Takahashi has requested to be posted once the 2023 season concludes. In his case, it is not just a matter of challenging some of the best players in the world, but also a matter of following some of his mentors stateside.
Kona Takahashi may not have MLB market he hopes for
One can understand why Takahashi would be looking to come to the majors. After seeing the types of contracts that Kodai Senga and Masataka Yoshida received this offseason, he wants a share of that pie as well. Such a desire is certainly reasonable.
However, it is fair to wonder how realistic that is. Takahashi does not have the same type of eye-popping numbers that other players coming from Nippon Professional Baseball possessed. He has been a solid enough arm, posting a 3.63 ERA and a 1.331 WHiP over his 814.2 innings, striking out 601 batters with 311 walks. He did take a step forward in 2022 as he emerged as the Lions’ ace, but even then, his performance was not at the same level as those other pitchers.
Takahashi’s arsenal is not overly impressive either. He has a low 90s fastball and uses a cutter, slider, and splitter primarily as his secondary options. Takahashi moves the ball up and down in the zone, seeking to get outs with guile rather than overpowering his opponents. It is a profile that has worked with various degrees of success in Japan, but is seemingly a back of the rotation arm stateside.
All it takes is for one team to be intrigued. Takahashi would have more upside than most back of the rotation arms and could end up being a bargain. However, he is not likely to get the type of payout that he would expect given his somewhat underwhelming overall performance and arsenal.
Kona Takahashi wants to come stateside once the 2023 season concludes. He may not get the type of payout he is hoping for should that happen.