Mets close to signing Japanese reliever Igarashi
David Waldstein of the New York Times reports that the Mets are close to signing Japanese pitcher Ryota Igarashi to a two-year contract. Igarashi is a 30-year-old right-handed reliever who has pitched for the Yakult Swallows since 1999. He saved 37 games in 2004, but has primarily been a setup man since, posting a 2.87 ERA and 86 strikeouts in 97.1 innings over the past two seasons after missing all of 2007 following Tommy John surgery. Patrick Newman of NPB Tracker put together a detailed scouting report on Igarashi, including the fact that he’s one of Japan’s hardest throwers with a fastball that reaches the upper-90s. According to Newman he also features a hard splitter with the occasional slider, but has spotty control. No word yet on the monetary details, but based on his track record, stuff, and the two-year deal it looks like the Mets view Igarashi as a late-inning setup option in front of closer Francisco Rodriguez.