Even Japan doesn’t want Kei Igawa back


In 2006, Japan stunned the international baseball community when they claimed the WBC title. They’re back with a vengeance to defend their crown, and while many players — the pitchers especially — view this tournament as a potential audition for the U.S. Major Leagues, the Land of the Rising Sun is mostly concerned with capture another title. While the rehabbing Hideki Matsui won’t play in the tournament, he is wanted for it. His fellow Japanese Yankee isn’t so lucky. When asked about Kei Igawa’s omission from the team, one of the Japanese reporters assigned to the team said “They think he is not so good.” I don’t think Brian Cashman is going to voice much objection to those sentiments. (Hat tip to PeteAbe for this amusing anecdote.)

Categories : Asides, Whimsy


  1. Joe R says:

    The reporter covering Matsui said that, not Matsui himself.

    “One of the Japanese reporters in Tampa covering Hideki Matsui was asked why Igawa was not considered for the WBC roster.”

  2. jsbrendog says:

    poor guy. seriously. and he looks like a cartoon character on top of it all

  3. Ross says:

    Matsui didn’t say that – the reporter did. Lets not spread false information about the porn man.

  4. PB says:

    >>The reporter covering Matsui said that, not Matsui himself.

    What does it matter who said it? He is only stating the obvious.

  5. pat says:

    Poor kei igawa only making millions of dollars a year.

  6. Mattingly's Love Child says:

    Cash must see that Igawa is a sunk cost. With all of the young pitching prospects coming up through the system, wouldn’t it be better to release Igawa? That would give someone like Eric Hacker or George Kontos a chance to start regularly in AAA. I don’t see Igawa having much trade value to anyone. It appears no one will give Cashman even a bag of balls for this guy!

    • Yeah, but the problem with just releasing Igawa is that we’re still on the hook for his salary, but he’s free to pitch elsewhere, like for a competitor. So, basically, we’d be paying him to pitch for somebody else and beat us, which is a bad business mode—

      —HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH, oh, I tried to get through that with a straight face, but I just couldn’t. Seriously, yeah, we should just cut him.

  7. ClayBuchholzLovesLaptops says:

    They could just send Igawa to AA or even lower. Imagine Igawa getting roughed up by 20year olds in Charleston, that would be fun.

  8. My Geass Makes You My Slave says:

    How is Igawa faring in the minors btw?

    • Matt says:

      He was actually pretty good at Scranton last year:

      14-6, 156.1 IP, 141 H, 45 BB, 117 K, 3.45 ERA, 1.19 WHIP

    • Steve H says:

      He’d win 15 in the NL.

      • My Geass Makes You My Slave says:

        He’d do good in the NL West. But I doubt any team would actually want him…

        • Matt says:

          The Padres showed some interest at some point–don’t know what happened to that, though.

          • My Geass Makes You My Slave says:

            It might be his salary. 4M is too much for the guy. Look at Wang, he’s making like 5.5M this year! So the Yankees overpay players that are bad or players with risk but underpay better ones? In all respects Wang should get like at least a 10 mil contract. Well I doubt we’d have trouble getting him off our hands if his contract was like 500K or something.

            • My Geass Makes You My Slave says:

              Him being Igawa btw

            • steve (different one) says:

              with all due respect, your comments about Wang are complete nonsense (hey, i said with all due respect).

              you are comparing apples to oranges.

              i’m not going to get into the why, b/c to be honest, i don’t know how everyone doesn’t understand how the process works at this point, but just know that Wang and Igawa have absolutely nothing in common.

            • Ryan S. says:

              Kei Igawa was a free agent (basically), while Chien-Ming Wang is arbitration eligible and coming off of a half-season due to injury. That’s why CMW is “only” making $1.5M more this year. If Wanger was a free agent, he’d have made AJ Burnett money.

          • Ryan S. says:

            Igawa for a Swinging Friar mascot mask.

          • pat says:

            Padres wanted the yanks to pick up the tab.

            • Short Porch says:

              In this economy, expect a lot of salary dump trades this summer. Igawa may well be dumped for someone yet more expensive, but someone who suddenly became a valuable commodity for the Yankw due to injury or poor performance — I’m looking at you, center field! I’d love for them to take a run at Ichiro for instance.

              Igawa needs an NL pitcher’s park. SD best fit. LA? Joe, what would you say to that knowing what you know?

              • Ryan S. says:

                I’m sorry, but I would not want an aging Ichiro and 3 1/2 years worth of his $17M annual salary unless the Mariners picked up around 50% of the tab. We have 2 placeholder guys until AJax is ready, and AJax could be a league-average, cheap CF option for the next several years. While in a vacuum, yeah, Ichiro is easily the best option (even in his mid 30s, he’ll still be reliably above-average for the remainder of his contract), his massive salary makes him much less appealing.

                • Ichiro has a career wOBA of .355. He’s being paid like a guy with a career wOBA of .405.

                • Ryan S. says:

                  In fairness to Ichiro, his salary isn’t quite as ridiculous as one may think in the context of it being for the Seattle Mariners, since he brings them a massive amount of publicity. That’s a moot point for a team like the Yanks though, who already has a large Asian audience due to guys like Godzilla and Wang.

                • Matt says:

                  I’ve always said Ichiro was overrated. Everyone always laughs at me. It’s quite annoying. I love how analysts always say “If Ichiro wanted to, he could hit 30 homers a year.” If he could, why the hell doesn’t he? Does he not realize 30 homers are probably gonna end up being more valuable than all his slap hit singles? For fuck’s sake, he only averages 42 XBH per 162 games. He does make up for it with stealing and not getting caught (81% for his career) but if he could hit 30 homers, why the hell doesnt he?

                • Matt says:

                  Speaking of Godzilla, where do you guys think he’ll end up in 2010 and beyond?

                • Speaking of Godzilla, where do you guys think he’ll end up in 2010 and beyond?

                  Sitting on his couch, watching porn.

                • Matt says:

                  So no different than now? Got it.

                • Ryan S. says:

                  Definitely in the AL, unless The Cubs feel like pulling another Milton Bradley. DH for the Mariners maybe?

                • Matt says:

                  Yeah, I think that sounds about right.

                  I’m interested to see how Bradley does. He’s a great hitter–was the best in Texas last year– and they got him on a great deal, but the dude just can’t stay healthy.

                • Ryan S. says:

                  He also might just head back over to Japan and end his career there. He’s made good money and will have won the world series this year, so he may just feel like being treated like a God(zilla) back in his homeland until he’s ready to call it quits. I hope he makes the trip for Old Timer’s day when the time comes though.

                • “I’m interested to see how Bradley does. He’s a great hitter–was the best in Texas last year moderately above average hitter drastically inflated by Arlington park effects, as evidenced by his home/road splits and the 2008 deviation from his career norms – and they got him on a great deal bad deal they’ll probably soon regret, but the dude just can’t stay healthy.”


                • Matt says:

                  There were some drastic differences away from Arlington but he still posted good numbers outside of Texas: .290/.410/.462/.872.

                  Compare that to Hamilton: .263/.331/.448/.779

                  Kinsler actually slugged more out of Arlington. Odd.

                • Ryan S. says:

                  In the 8 or 9 seasons Milton Bradley has been in the majors, he’s only played more than 100 games 3 times. If we exclude his 2000 season (which I’m guessing was a call-up), he’s averages about 339 ABs a year.

                • Matt says:

                  Yeah, that’s the big problem with him.

                  TSJC: it’s also worth nothing that Wrigley had a one year park factor of 104 last season and has a multi-year factor of 106 for hitters. So, he’s going from one hitter’s park to another.

                • True. I still think Bradley’s like Ichiro, in that the Cubs and Mariners are paying them 10M and 17M respectively, and they’ll probably get 5M and 10M worth of production out of them, respectively.

                  The Bradley contract wasn’t an Ibanez-level disaster, but it was still bad. Both the Phils and the Cubs could have had better players for less dollars.

                • Ryan S. says:

                  In hindsight, you know what was an Ibanez-level disaster? Edgar Renteria. He very well may have cost the Giants the ability to sign ManRam. Or at the very least, they could’ve gotten Renteria for maybe 30% of what they signed him, or spent that money to get a combination of one of the Orlandos and Abreu and still had cash left over.

          • Mattingly's Love Child says:

            Even if you pay his salary for him to pitch for someone else, nobody is going to want him. The Padres are rebuilding so I’d assume they don’t want a never-been (not even a has-been). Joe Torre is managing the Dodgers and he is very familiar with just how crappy Igawa is. The Giants got 6 pitchers for 5 spots, while the Rockies and Diamondbacks play in stadiums that don’t really work well for Igawa. I won’t get started on the NL Central, but again, a lot of no’s.

            Teams have seemed to have wisened-up this year. Whatever deal Cash had for him with the Padres last summer he should have taken. Even if it was for someone terrible, like Tony Gwynn’s spare tire.

  9. Short Porch says:

    Come On! There must be a slightly less crappy contract we can pick up for him in exchange. I see the Knicks doing this all the time now.

  10. Andy In Sunny Daytona says:

    If he could just learn to keep the ball down, he could be a passable major leaguer. But then again IF my aunt had a dick she would be uncle and my uncle would be gay. Not that there is anything wrong with that.

  11. [...] blog post generated a little traffic for NPB Tracker a couple of weeks ago. The gist of it was that Kei [...]

  12. [...] expires after next season, Igawa is stuck in Scranton, not wanted by the Yankees, not wanted back in Japan. His occasional appearance in DotF is a reminder of just how poorly this deal turned out. Share [...]

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