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Angels deal with Hisanori Takahashi is for two years, $8 million

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No wonder the Angels were so reluctant on Thursday to reveal or confirm the financial details of their contract with left-hander Hisanori Takahashi. The pitcher came at a much steeper price than anyone anticipated.

Initial reports pegged the two-year deal at about $5.5 million, but after the paperwork was officially filed with the players’ union on Friday, the Associated Press reports that the deal is for $8 million -- $3.8 million in 2011 and $4.2 million in 2012.

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Had the Angels been willing to shell out that kind of coin to a veteran left-handed reliever last off-season, Darren Oliver, who went 15-3 with a 3.09 earned-run average in 178 games for the Angels from 2007-2009, never would have left Anaheim to sign with the Texas Rangers.

Takahashi, 35, had a fine season for the New York Mets, going 10-6 with a 3.61 ERA in a variety of roles, serving as a starter, long reliever, left-handed specialist and closer. His 2010 salary: $1 million.

But he is expected to be a middle and long reliever for the Angels, and $8 million over two years is a lot more than most teams are willing to allocate to a reliever who is not setting up or closing.

The guess here is that the Angels, who have grown impatient with struggling left-hander Scott Kazmir, are strongly considering Takahashi for the fifth spot in their rotation, so they had to make a contract concession to Takahashi, paying him more like a No. 5 starter than a middle reliever.

--Mike DiGiovanna


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