July 14, 2012; Bronx, NY, USA; Los Angeles Angels relief pitcher Hisanori Takahashi (21) delivers a pitch during the seventh inning against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium. Yankees won 5-3. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-US PRESSWIRE
This afternoon the Pirates announced they have claimed 37-year old left-handed reliever Hisanori Takahashi off waivers from The LA Angels. Takahashi is in his third year in the majors. After joining the New York Mets in 2010, he has spent the last two years with the Angels, appearing in 156 career games, relieving in all but 12.
In 2012 Takahashi has appeared in 42 games, compiling a 4.93 ERA. He has a WHIP of 1.167 and has struck out 41 batters in 42 innings. His career splits are almost identical, so he doesn't profile as strictly a LOOGY.
Clint Hurdle has continually expressed his desire to have a second lefty reliever in the bullpen (he has also expressed a desire to have the seven best pitchers in the bullpen), so this would seem to be a move in that direction after Doug Slaten, Daniel Moskos (released) and Justin Wilson haven't filled the role.
The team announced that a corresponding roster move will be made when Takahashi joins the club. The two obvious choices are to either designate Chad Qualls for assignment or send Jared Hughes back to AAA. I'll be surprised if the move is not DFA'ing Qualls, but Neal Huntington has surprised me before.
With this move and the recall of Jeff Clement, it appears the Pirates are finally taking steps to improve the back end of the roster and get their 25 best players in Pittsburgh.