The Yanks’ $40-million mistakes


Last night in Scranton, Kei Igawa took the hill for the AAA Yankees. In typical Kei Igawa fashion, he threw 5.1 innings and gave up 7 hits and 5 earned runs. He allowed a home run — his ninth long ball of the season and managed just a 4/6 ground ball to fly ball ratio.

For Igawa, it was yet another in a line of mediocre-to-terrible AAA starts. On the season, the Kei Man is 2-0 but with a 6.75 ERA. In 21.1 innings, he has allowed 23 hits but has walked four while striking out 11. His 0.60 GB/FB ratio is destined to keep him at AAA for at least this year and next.

It’s clear today that Kei Igawa is one of the worst free agent signings of the last five years. He is no longer on the Yanks’ 40-man roster and is probably 9th or 10th on the team’s starting pitching depth charts. Last year, he threw just 4 innings in the bigs, and I expect that to be 4 more than he pitches this year for the Yanks.

So the Yankees, in Igawa, have a mistake. They paid $26 million to the Hanshin Tigers for what has amounted to a pitching lemon, and Igawa, earning $4 million a year, is probably the highest paid AAA pitcher in the history of the game. He is, by the way, under contract through the 2011 season.

Meanwhile, later tonight, another Yankee mistake is going to take the mound, albeit far, far away from the Bronx. In Detroit, the 0-3 Carl Pavano is going to take his 9.50 ERA to the hill as the Indians face off against the Tigers. We all know Pavano’s story. He had a career year in Florida right before free agency and landed with the Yankees after a four-team bidding war. He then went 9-8 in 26 starts spread out over four seasons and walked away with a 5.00 ERA, $39.95 million and a less-than-flattering nickname of “American Idle.”

The Indians gave Carl Pavano $1.5 million to pitch for them this year in the hopes that he could rediscover his groove. Outside of one start against the Yankees, ironically enough, Pavano hasn’t done much of anything, and he’s probably nearing the point of pitching for a job.

So as the rain begins to pick up in New York City, I am left not counting down the hours until a Yankeeography-filled rain delay, but rather I am left wondering which of these two pitchers was the worse move. It’s probably safe to say that signing one of them ranks among Brian Cashman‘s worse decisions as GM, but does one take the cake?

Which Yankee pitcher represents a bigger waste of money?
View Results
Categories : Pitching, Polls


  1. Smitt Dogg says:

    At the time, the Yankees were in a bidding war for Pavano. The Red Sox, Tigers and others were high on him, and he looked like a young pitcher beginning to figure it out. I don’t fault Cashman for that signing. While it turned out to be terrible, I’m not sure there were signs indicating he would subsequently hurt his caboose down the line.

  2. Drew says:

    At least Kei contributes somewhere in the system. Carl couldn’t even get on a field.

    • Scott of 3 Kids Tickets says:

      Almost word for word what I was going to write/type….


    • Evan says:

      Agreed. If we NEEDED Igawa to pitch, he could. Can’t say that for Pavano.

    • mg says:

      Ya, but if you want the signing that’s worse, it has to be Igawa cause no one ever thought he’d amount to anything. Pavano had promise when we first got him. He had been a dominant pitcher on the MLB level. Igawa came aboard with Cashman saying day one “He’s not a blower.” As we learned, that’s correct, Igawa just blows.

      • Lanny says:

        Do we really want either on the field?

        • Drew says:

          Wanting is moot, Pavano couldn’t play 90% of the time.

          • ClayBuchholzLovesLaptops says:

            And Igawa sucks at least 90% of the time. Pick your poison.

            • Drew says:

              Hey, he could come up tomorrow and pitch 5 innings of 20 run ball, at least he can pitch.

              • ClayBuchholzLovesLaptops says:

                Of course he could. Or we could call up somebody from Staten Island who could the other team to 18 over 5 and give the offense a chance to come back.

                It speaks volumes about the Japanese league that Igawa was one of the better pitchers there.

                • Mike O says:

                  Igawa’s best years were behind him – even in the Central League in Japan (there is no “Japanese league”) he was showing signs of fatigue. The Yankees shouldn’t have signed him – they missed out on Matsuzaka and essentially thought Igawa would be the consolation prize. Anyone who knew anything about Igawa knew he wasn’t in Matsuzaka’s class.

  3. Matt ACTY says:

    I voted Igawa. In the three appearances with the Yankees in ’05, ’07, and ’08, Pavano gave the Yankees 1.1 WAR. Obviously, that’s absolutely nothing over three seasons but I don’t see Igawa ever giving the Yankees a positive WAR mark.

  4. The only reason that more people are picking Carl Pavano more is because he was supposed to be good. He was supposed to come in and help our rotation. We expected more from Pavano than we actually expected from Igawa. He had proven he could be an effective major league pitcher, and we paid him the money to pitch for us.

    There was a bidding war and we were happy he was here. Turns out that was a bad move. But at the time it was the right move.

    Many people thought the Kei Igawa move was a bad move when we made it, and it still is a bad move.

    To me there is no question that Igawa was the worse move. It seemed like a bad move at the time and has only gotten worse.

  5. Chris says:

    Most of the issues with Pavano are due to his various injuries. While some of the injuries were comical, he missed most of his time with the Yankees due to TJ surgery. I don’t think we know what he could have been without the injuries. With Kei Igawa we know – he just stinks.

  6. J.W. says:

    Igawa is the worse move IMO; Pavano might have produced had he not gotten injured, Igawa was never going to produce.

  7. ClayBuchholzLovesLaptops says:

    For me it’s the K-man. Sure, the Yankees overpaid for The Idle, but the rotation was in total shambles after the 2003 WS and he was coming off a great season. Still, it was a bad idea and he was grossly overpaid, but I understand the reasoning at the time. At least, kind of understand it.

    Igawa? I doubt anybody really scouted him and the posting fee of $26M was a terrible joke. Throwing flat fastballs up in the zone is asking for disaster.

  8. Whizzo the Wize says:

    Whizzo says Pavano’s the dog here. Igawa at least wears those awesome shades.

  9. Mike HC says:

    Pavano was a good pitcher who was always hurt. Cashman could not have predicted all the injuries. Igawa is just not that good and had never pitched in the Major Leagues, yet still paid 26 million just to have the rights to sign him. The Yanks could have went after Daisuke, but instead chose Igawa.

    • steve (different one) says:

      The Yanks could have went after Daisuke, but instead chose Igawa.

      this isn’t really accurate. the Matsuzaka posting was first and the yankees bid upwards of $30M, which was like 2-3 times the biggest posting fee in history (Ichiro).

      they were outbid.

      the Igawa posting came later, and that’s when they should have just walked away.

      they made a mistake, but they didn’t “choose” Igawa over Matsuzaka.

      • Yeah. That’s revisionist history, Mike. The Yanks would have landed Matsuzaka if Boston didn’t bid a ridiculous sum of over $50 million. I’m skeptical that it was worth it.

        • Mike HC says:

          I agree. I didn’t want Dice K, and thought the Red Sox posting fee was ridiculous. I think the jury is still out on if it was worth it, but the Yanks would have clearly been better off the past couple of years if we had somehow outbid the Sox. Dice K has proved he can pitch on this level.

          It is obviously revisionist history, but I thought that was basically the question that was asked.

      • Mike HC says:

        The point was that the Yanks felt Igawa, at the price they got him at, was more valuable than the price the Red Sox got Dice K at. We needed starting pitching and paid half as much money for 100% less production. Dice K was a far superior alternative. The year we signed Pavano, there were really not any other good alternatives. The Mets signed Pedro that year, which also didn’t work out. So, not only was Igawa a bust, but there was a better alternative out there, which there was not one during the Pavano signing.

        • whozat says:

          “The point was that the Yanks felt Igawa, at the price they got him at, was more valuable than the price the Red Sox got Dice K at.”

          No, they didn’t. They thought “Hey, blowing away the posting fee record by 200% will get us the rights to Matsuzaka.” They were wrong…the Sox blew it away by 400%.

          Then, they were left with the choice of looking at Ted Lilly or Igawa for a comparable outlay of funds over 4-5 years. They chose Igawa.

          • Mike HC says:

            Yes, that is how business works. You put a value on a player. They didnt think Dice K was worth the 50+ million posting fee. The Red Sox did. But they did feel that Igawa was worth the 26 million posting fee, which the Red Sox did not. It would be worse if the Yanks didnt think Igawa was worth the money, but in order to cover up there first mistake (undervaluing Dice K), they made a second one.

            • whozat says:

              That’s still not accurate, in a couple ways. First, we don’t necessarily know what the Yanks would have been willing to pay to talk to Daisuke; we know what they believed they’d need to pay. They were wrong, though I actually don’t believe in Matsuzaka, really.

              We also don’t know what the Sox thought Igawa would be worth, because they didn’t bid on him.

        • Ed says:

          The point was that the Yanks felt Igawa, at the price they got him at, was more valuable than the price the Red Sox got Dice K at.

          That’s completely wrong. Every team submitted a secret bid. After the bidding period ended, the highest bid was announced.

          Rumors had the Yankees bidding several times the previous highest posting fee. The Red Sox offer simply caught everyone completely off guard.

  10. jsbrendog says:

    def igawa. it was a sheer panic have to match the red sox with dice k move that was not well thought out, scouted out, or smart. the pavano move was smart at the time because w eout bid the red sox who also wanted him and kept him away from our rival while strengthening ourselves.

    on another note:

  11. Moshe Mandel says:

    Gotta be Igawa. At least Carl had some talent.

  12. Drew says:

    This isn’t looking back retrospectively at the time, the question was, what was the bigger waste of money? While Pavano made sense at the time, its now one of the biggest wastes of money we’ve had this decade.

    • Moshe Mandel says:

      Under this standard, both were equally bad, and Igawa cost more, so Igawa.

      • Drew says:

        But at least Kei is pitching, be it in Scranton but he is contributing to the system.

        • jsbrendog says:

          and taking up a spot for someone who could possibly actually contribute at the major league level. if eric milton came in and rehabbed well in our minor league complex and kei wasnt here maybe they sign him. then again maybe they dont, just speculating.

          kei = biggest waste of money either and the fact that he IS pitching is the reason. the dude is a $4 filler who will never make the majors or be useful, blocks those better who are below him, and is pitching to the best of his ability and cant even stick on the 40 man!

          hell pavano came back early from tjs and did better last yr with half his stuff than igawa does healthy with a full arsenal multiple times

          • Drew says:

            I highly doubt Cash is letting Kei Igawa thwart the signings/development of young talent.

          • steve (different one) says:

            if Igawa blocked the Yankees from signing Milton, i think that moves him ahead of Pavano in usefulness.

        • Moshe Mandel says:

          That’s not contributing if you have no hope of helping in the majors. The Yankees signed Ponson rather than let Igawa pitch.

          • jsbrendog says:

            ouch. great point

          • Drew says:

            He is contributing to the “system.” He pitched great for Scranton last year.

            • Moshe Mandel says:

              The purpose of the system is to supply talent to the big club- as filler he holds zero value, as there are tons of guys who can fill that spot.

              • Drew says:

                Hey believe me, I think it sucks that Kei will probably only make a start for the big club if there is a massive injury bug that plagues the Yankees and their entire system except for Kei. My thought though is that he is contributing and Carl didn’t.

          • ClayBuchholzLovesLaptops says:

            I would take Ponson over both Pavano and Igawa, even without considering the money involved. I’d have no faith in Igawa getting out of the second inning or Pavano making more than one start in a row. With Ponson atleast you constantly get 6IP, 4ER every 5th day.

    • Ed says:

      While Pavano made sense at the time, its now one of the biggest wastes of money we’ve had this decade.

      Not really. The Yankees had insurance on his contract, so a lot of it was recouped. Igawa’s posting fee alone is probably more than Pavano actually cost the Yankees.

      • Drew says:

        Can you please elaborate? How much did Carl cost us then? I don’t believe we received a material amount of money.

        • Ed says:

          Teams never make the insurance details public. There was a little info about A-Rod earlier in the year – something along the lines of insurance would pay for his DL time once he missed 60+ days of the season.

          The insurance Jeff Bagwell’s last contract stated something along the lines of if he was deemed medically unable to play, insurance would cover ~90% of his salary. There was a little more info on that deal because the Astros had to sue over it, as the insurance company deemed him able to play when the team didn’t.

  13. Smitt Dogg says:

    Also, the Igawa signing reeked of a reactionary move to Boston signing Dice-k. To throw that kind of money just to calm Big George’s boston blood lust was stupid then and continues to be stupid. You wanna throw 500K at a minor league contract because you’re frustrated by Boston’s winning that bidding war? Stupid, but ok. $26M for the rights to negotiate with a guy who’s CEILING was as a 5th starter? That was his CEILING. He was never projected to be more than that even before he landed in New York. The baseball community knew he was not a free agent prize, yet the money was thrown in his direction. Hands down: Kei is the biggest waste.

  14. Jamal G. says:

    I know I’m in the extreme minority, but I’m not too displeased with the signing of Carl Pavano. I mean, it’s not like he did not suffer some serious injuries (TJS; bone chips in his elbow; cracked ribs) whilst with the Yankees.

    Honestly, I think if people went over each and every injury he suffered, they would feel a bit different about Pavano’s time here. Sure, he basically did not pitch for the organization, but the perception that he basically stayed on the 60-day DL for bruised buttocks is just misinterpreted and wrong.

    • First, +1 on the use of whilst.

      Second, I think you’re forgetting, Jamal, that Pavano never told the Yankees about some of those injuries. Remember the car accident? That was a big big deal.

      • DP says:

        Definitely a dickhead move, but would Pavano have gotten on the field any quicker if he had told them?

        • Ed says:

          There’s a good chance he would have. The treatment for that injury was just X weeks of rest before pitching again. He pitched through the injury, possibly making it worse, until there were only about X weeks left in the season, which prevented him from returning that season. If he had told the team the truth immediately, he might have been able to get in a few starts at the end of September.

    • Smitt Dogg says:

      The fact that his own teammates publicly doubted his effort to get back on the field says alot to me. I’m neither a doctor, nor do I have access to the team, so the opinion of his teammates is about as close an approximation I can get to what really happened. And all I’ve ever heard is that Pavano was disliked and shunned in the clubhouse because of a perceived lack of effort to get back in pinstripes.

      • steve (different one) says:

        yes, but this comment is at odds with the one right above it.

        he didn’t tell the team about the car accident b/c he WANTED to pitch.

        whatever, why i am defending pavano?

      • jsbrendog says:

        so which is worse, someone who has talent but cant be motivated to come back from back to back yrs of debilitating injuries and therefore has his desire questioned?


        a guy who is so bad that he is pitching and ppl WISH he would get injured or someone would take him cause he is that bad? igawa cannot pitch in the ml, cannot stick on the 40 man, has been healthy and still sucks, and has shown absolutely no redeeming qualities other than cool shades and an ability to get paid $4 million dollars to suck ace

  15. ClayBuchholzLovesLaptops says:

    It’s not only Pavano, Cashman tried several times to obtain up-coming starters to get younger in the rotation in the 2000s and missed on all of them. Pavano, Jeff Weaver and Javier Vazquez were all highly recommended at the time of the trade/signing and everybody thought the Yankees got a great starter for the next years to come. I don’t think Cash tried to do this again after Pavano and then they started the process of building from within. I don’t count Igawa here because he was a total unknown at the time.

    • jsbrendog says:

      thats the crappy thing about sports. every other team wouldve killed to have weaver/vasquez/pavano at the times we got them. and i bet when the yanks got them everyone else said oh the evil yankees get better by singing these guys with their money. yeah well look how that worke dout.

      • ClayBuchholzLovesLaptops says:

        On the Yankees forum I was using at the time, the Weaver trade was criticized even before he made the first pitch. I’m not sure what people were saying about Pavano, but Vazquez sure was the right decision at the time. I still think Cash gave him away too early.

        Over all, trading prospects for pitchers in the mid-20s that showed they could handle pitching in the majors seems like a good idea, but the Yankees didn’t try the last several years.

        • Moshe Mandel says:

          What forum was that? I did not hear one complaint about that deal at the time. It was universally lauded.

          • ClayBuchholzLovesLaptops says:

            The Yankees message board on There were a lot of people at the time that didn’t like the trade, thought we shouldn’t have traded Ted Lilly for him.

    • V says:

      I felt like we sold Vazquez short while he was here, though. Didn’t he deal with an injury in the second half?

      • Since leaving New York, Vazquez has put up the following line as his four-season average:

        32 games started, 210 IP, 210 H, 53 BB, 197 K, 28 HR, 4.41 ERA.

        To say the Yanks sold short on Javy Vazquez would be an understatement. Maybe he had the Jeff Weaver mentality problem, but they gave up on a reliable workhorse of a pitcher far too early.

        • whozat says:

          I figured it was all part of the Get-Randy-Johnson mandate, which was basically George’s last (and most costly) move that he dictated to the baseball people.

          They would have been in a much better position over the last several years with Navarro, Vasquez and Beltran (who they could have afforded if not for RJ).

        • Ed says:

          Well, it’s not like they traded Vazquez for a bag of balls. He was the centerpiece in a trade for a guy who put up the following averages over the previous 6 seasons:

          32 GS, 231 IP, 181 H, 59 BB, 305 SO, 22 HR, 2.65 ERA
          Along with 4 Cy Young’s and a 2nd place finish. With the other year being half lost to injury.

          You’re not getting somebody like that without quality major league ready talent.

          • whozat says:

            Yeah, but there were plenty of indications that Randy Johnson would not be a stellar fit here in NY, and also injury concerns. When you add in the fact that the money spend on RJ was the last straw in keeping us from getting Beltran…dude, how can you not prefer Navarro, Vasquez and Beltran to Randy Johnson?

            • Ed says:

              Yeah, but there were plenty of indications that Randy Johnson would not be a stellar fit here in NY, and also injury concerns.


              dude, how can you not prefer Navarro, Vasquez and Beltran to Randy Johnson?

              I never said I didn’t.

              All I said was “if you’re going to trade for someone with Randy Johnson’s track record, you’re going to have to give up a really good player.” That’s a compliment to Vazquez.

        • Arod, all the time says:

          There are no maybes about it. Saying that, I am still in shock over the Yanks giving away a perfectly good pitcher who stands out when least needed. Pavano should have become a Yankee staple. He’s perfect in pinstripes.

      • Lanny says:

        Vazquez sold himself short with a terrible second half. And last yr proved he doesnt have the stomach for it. As his manager even said.

  16. jsbrendog says:

    should we put jaret wright into this discussion too?

    • I almost added Wright, but his was a shorter deal for a lot less money.

      Also, I have an utterly vile reaction to anything Jaret Wright and would prefer to just forget he existed. One summer, I saw Wright pitch a few times, and it was painful every single game.

      • Matt ACTY says:

        In ’07, I went to a handful of Igawa games.

        But, being there for Hughes/A-Rod’s 500th made up for it I guess.

        • V says:

          I had tix to ARod’s 500th and couldn’t go due to something profoundly stupid, and had to hear it on the radio :shakes head:

    • Matt ACTY says:

      He was at least average in ’06, though.

      • ClayBuchholzLovesLaptops says:

        And he got us Chris Britton in a trade, who then brought us the “Chris Britton Shuttle”.

    • steve (different one) says:

      Wright was nowhere remotely close to as bad as the other two.

      Wright actually pitched 200+ innings for the Yankees.

      they paid him about $18M total, and got 200 mediocre innings. not a good investment, but a far cry from Pavano land.

  17. Nathan says:

    Igawa is the worse for sure. Igawa was gotten as a response to our loss in the bidding war for Dice-K. Pavano was at least a good pitcher coming out of Florida. Yeah he sucked for us but he did have a career year preceding his signing.

  18. andrew says:

    Yes, Igawa is a bust, but I’d like to nominate Dontrelle Willis as the most overpaid AAA in the history of the game. I believe he makes $7million+

    • Technically he’s on the DL and is in AAA on a rehab assignment. Doesn’t count.

      • Lanny says:

        over paid? that list is way longer than d-will.

        • Really, Lanny? You have a list of AAA players who have been paid more than Dontrelle Willis? I’d love to hear that one.

          • steve (different one) says:

            Ben, you can’t make a list of overpaid AAA players from a bunch of names and their respective salaries.

          • andrew says:

            Come on Ben, ARod is languishing right now in extended spring training and we pay him $30 million a year. Major oversight on your part. ARod is by far the richest minor leaguer in history. Atleast Igawa is in AAA!!

      • andrew says:

        True, but as you said, it is a technicality, rehab assignment or not, he’s gonna be in AAA for the foreseeable future, and was last year as well. Not that I like Igawa, just throwing out other overpaid AAA names.

  19. Spaceman.Spiff says:

    This is like asking whether you’d rather eat poop or vomit.

  20. Lanny says:

    Sophie had an easier choice.

  21. Babe's Ghost says:

    Hmmm, tough one…

    Lazy injury prone bum with one great season who won’t try versus Hardworking bum with marginal stuff who can’t or won’t make the necessary adjustment.

    Does the “If all your friends are jumping off a bridge…” excuse actually hold water? Because if it does then maybe it applies to both of them. Certainly, the bosox taking a huge flier on an unproven foreign ace made it look like jumping off the proverbial bridge of uncertain comparables wasn’t necessarily a bad idea much the same way that the bidding war made paying an ace’s ransom for a guy who only had one great season seem reasonable.

    The other consideration is who the Yankees passed over to choose each given loser.
    2007 Igawa vs Jason Schmidt, Meche, Suppan, Zito
    2005 Pavano vs Pedro, David Wells, Kris Benson, Eric Milton, Russ Ortiz, Matt Clement, Jon Leiber

    I guess it could have been worse (Zito), it clearly would have been better with Meche at $55/5 and Pedro at $53/4. Oh well.

    While you can argue that Igawa was a bigger risk and a worse prima facia decision, at the end of the day I have to go with who I’d rather see get run over by a bus. As much as I’d love the Yanks to get some more salary relief to spend on minor league signings and IFAs, I hate Pavano so much more than Igawa.

    So much much more.

    And I think Moose would back me up on this one.

  22. Arod, all the time says:

    I request that three additional choices be offered. Namely, Sabathia, Marte and Burnett. I’ll hold off on my vote until then.

  23. NaOH says:

    Interesting that the question is framed in terms of money but the feedback rarely considers this and, instead, focuses on negligible differences in on-field performance, degrees of expectation, or personal bias.

    When comparing on-field performance, Pavano gave the Yankees a 5.00 ERA in 145.2 innings spread over 4 seasons. In 2+ seasons, Igawa has provided a 6.66 ERA in 71.2 innings. Both of these data sets are pretty bad, and differences in ERA and IP make it hard to be certain one pitcher was definitely worse. As an added bonus to the confusion, both players have predominantly only cost the team money since they’ve spent little time using 25- or 40-man roster space. Which brings us back to the main issue: money.

    During his 4-year contract, Pavano’s salary represented 5% of the team’s payroll. So, even if one were to tack on 5% of the team’s luxury tax payments over those years to the salary he was paid, the total Pavano-related outlay is $500,000 less than the $46 million paid to negotiate and sign Igawa.

    Now, one could add another million to Igawa using the same formula for calculating his contribution to luxury tax payments, and the difference is up to $1.5 million. Perhaps Pavano cost the team this much in medical fees, but that seems awfully high and we have no way of ascertaining these costs. Add on the fact that Igawa has an extra year of commitment, and I don’t see how Pavano could represent “a bigger waste of money.”

  24. The Evil Empire says:

    OMFG I was about to buy tickets on stubhub for the game and now they’re all gone FML!

  25. Darth Stein says:

    I am unconcerned about either contract because by the time he is 37 the Bitch Tits contract is going to be looking like the worst in team history!

  26. mustang says:

    Igawa was the bigger waste of money because Cashman had better choices in Ted Lilly and Gil Meche.
    However he chose the more ” Cost effective” choice so the Yankees wouldn’t take bigger cap hit that didn’t wok out to well.
    On the other hand Pavano was the stud that everyone wanted when he sign he just turn out bad.

    • mustang says:

      To compound the mistake Cashman had a chance to dump Igawa off on the Padres and save some money he didn’t do that either.
      I don’t remember Cashman having that chance with Pavano.

      • That doesn’t compound the mistake if (a) Cashman thought the returns weren’t great enough and (b) it left the Yanks with no AAA starters.

        People tend to overlook this but a GM’s job is to ensure that every level has the right number of players. As long as Igawa isn’t blocking anyone at Scranton, he has a purpose there. If the Yanks weren’t going to get a useful player back — and would you really give up a useful player for Kei Igawa? — then the team can just keep him there with the cost being only money.

        • mustang says:

          I’m sure Cashman could of found someone that could pitch in AAA for less than the 12 million dollars being paid to Igawa.
          So basically what your saying is that it doesn’t compound the mistake because Igawa is a 12 million dollar placeholder.

          • mustang says:

            And the fact that he is pitching in Scranton is blocking someone that could possibly be more helpful them him.

          • NaOH says:

            And since the rumored transaction with the Padres would have happened 5 months into a 5-year contract, you’re saying with certainty that the Yankees should have cut their losses that quickly.

            If Igawa were to develop into the back-of-the-rotation starter scouts thought he could be – and his numbers last year at AAA indicate he may have that capability – than it would seem reasonable that the team (with its financial resources) made a reasonable decision to retain him rather than pay about $30 million (posting fee and one year’s salary) for 5 months with the team.

            On top of that, he’s not even halfway through his contract with the team. It seems a little early, then, to close the book on his contract or the team’s handling of its options with him.

            • mustang says:

              But he didn’t develop into the back-of-the-rotation starter and there were sign early enough to tell them that he wasn’t. Some scouts had Igawa as a long man or 5th starter at best that along with his early showing should of been enough when they have 12 million dollars hanging in the balance.

              • mustang says:

                And how have Japanese starters for the most part translated to the MLB?

                • NaOH says:

                  As far as I can tell, these are the Japanese starters who’ve been starters in MLB for most of their time in the US:

                  Tomokazu Ohka
                  Hideo Nomo
                  Daisuke Matsuzaka
                  Hideki Irabu
                  Kei Igawa
                  Mac Suzuki
                  Kanshin Kawakami

                  While there are some poor numbers and some good numbers by some of these guys, I’d say it’s a little hard to make any determination from this small sample. Notably, and perhaps significantly, most of the Japanese pitchers who have come to the US have spent more time as relievers. This, though, could be from a number of factors (the pitchers’ past roles, newer approaches by MLB teams, etc.).

                • mustang says:

                  Some of the guy you have listed were predicted to be Ace’s and turn out bad.
                  So what are you going to expect from a long man or 4/5 guy?
                  His early showing answer that.

                • NaOH says:

                  It’s as if you’re saying there’s a correlation based on a small group of candidates which have two inconsequential things in common: 1) They were starters in Japan, and 2) they came to pitch in the US. Further, you’re saying Igawa’s 60 innings in 2007 bear this out.

                  I’m not saying you’re proposing the following, but by similar logic the team should have already given up on Hughes and Kennedy, and Sabathia and Teixeira only have a couple more months to return to their expected performance levels.

                  If you buy a computer or a car, then it has some serious shortcomings in the first 5 months of ownership, but nonetheless shows it may have potential value, are you going to give it up for pennies on the dollar?

                • mustang says:

                  “shows it may have potential value”

                  That’s the problem with your whole statement. He doesn’t and hasn’t shown 46,26 or 12 million dollars of potential value.

                • mustang says:

                  “given up on Hughes and Kennedy, and Sabathia and Teixeira only have a couple more months to return to their expected performance level”

                  Sabathia, Hughes, and Teixeira have proven they could do it on the MLB level. IPK doesn’t have a 12 million balance.

                • Does it impact your decision, mustang, to realize that the Yankees were going to be paying most, if not all, of Igawa’s salary were he to be traded? The $12 million stays the same no matter what.

                • mustang says:

                  If the Padres claim him weren’t they then responsible for the 12 million?

                • mustang says:

                  The Yankees pulled him back after the Padres claimed him.

                • mustang says:

                  And even if your right and they would of paid 8 or 6 million and received a player or two wouldn’t that be better then what they have now.

                • NaOH says:

                  Yes, supposedly after trying to make a deal with the Padres. I don’t think any of us on the outside really know what transpired, so I’m reluctant to judge moves (or non-moves) based on what amounts to little more than rumor.

                • NaOH says:

                  “And even if your right and they would of paid 8 or 6 million and received a player or two wouldn’t that be better then what they have now.”

                  With hindsight, that does seem to be the case. But I’m not talking about what I know from hindsight, I’m giving a business-based explanation for why the team’s non-move in August 2007 was reasonable.

              • NaOH says:

                I would say he hasn’t developed into a back-of-the-rotation starter, not that he didn’t. It doesn’t make sense to me to discuss his contract in the past tense when 60% of the contract remains.

                Look, in all businesses, I’m in favor of cutting one’s loses, but it just seems to me that 5 months into a 5-year contract is a bit early. He’d pitched about 60 innings in the Majors when the Padres made their supposed waiver claim. To have moved him then is, to me, an early 80′s Steinbrenner-style hook, and it’s a business philosophy that I’ve rarely seen work in any field.

                Of course, it’s certainly possible that the remaining 3 years on Igawa’s contract will prove the entire contract was a failure. But that’s a judgment which will be made with hindsight. That’s a much greater player history to evaluate than the 5-month window the team would have been afforded had they summarily discarded him after 5 months.

                • mustang says:

                  “I would say he hasn’t developed into a back-of-the-rotation starter, not that he didn’t.”
                  You have more faith then a lot of us here and most MLB scouts.

                  I think if you take what some scout predicted along with his early showing and the fact that Japanese starters for the most part don’t seem to translate will to MLB it would of been a far cry from “an early 80’s Steinbrenner-style hook” to let him go.

                • NaOH says:

                  I don’t know if I have more faith in scouts than others, but I presume scouts know more about player evaluation than I do. That doesn’t mean they’re infallible, but I can’t think of a good reason not to defer to the experts in a field which is an inexact science. I think it’s really easy for those of us on the outside to judge people on the inside after the facts are clear.

                  And for any player – Japanese or otherwise – we can find opinions on both sides of the fence. There were people saying Sabathia will fail because of his recent workload, there were people saying Ichiro would never be able to hit in the US, and on and on.

                  Considering how well Igawa did at AAA last year, it’s reasonable to think player development personnel may have improved his pitching. Enough to make him an MLB starter or reliever? That I don’t know.

                • mustang says:

                  NaOH you seem like a very smart person, but I can line-up people around the block that will tell that there is better chance for CC to be successful then for Igawa to ever do anything in MLB.
                  There always a chance, but from what we have all seen it’s not very good.

                • NaOH says:

                  Certainly, we can both find plenty of people to say Sabathia is likely to do better than Igawa, and I’m thousands of miles from NY. But all of those opinions ensure nothing.

                  I’m not saying the Igawa-related decisions have worked well for the Yankees, but to have abandoned a $30 million investment after 5 months really seems like a foolish move. Has it panned out it in the team’s favor since? Certainly not yet, and we don’t know if it ever will yield anything (and we have little reason to think it ever will).

                  My point is, this is an inexact science and the team’s decision to hold on to him in August 2007 (assuming they truly had an opportunity to move him) is understandable from a business perspective.

                  There’s a difference between criticizing a process and criticizing an outcome with the benefit of hindsight. I think we both agree that outcome has been terrible, but we disagree about the process.

                  Looking at August 2007, without the information gleaned in the intervening months, and not knowing the details of the time (Were the Padres taking the whole contract? Were the players offered in return anything with potential? What did NY player development personnel say about Igawa), I think the team made a reasonable move that has not, thus far, worked out. In fact, I think it has failed spectacularly, but I don’t think it was the certainty that you make it out to be.

                • mustang says:

                  I guess we will agree to disagree because i think it was.

                • NaOH says:

                  Fair enough. No harm in disagreeing.

  27. Jake H says:

    I voted for Igawa. Guy was a high strike throwing lefty with marginal stuff. That doesn’t translate. I’m sure if you looked at his #’s they looked good and probably would translate but the guy throws up in the zone. That gets crush here.

  28. Rich says:

    Pavano, despite his low K rate, was a reasonable signing, which is borne out by the number of teams that wanted him at a similar price.

    Signing a pitcher that made living pitching up in the strike zone in Japan, was scary stupid.

  29. kenthadley says:

    pavano, igawa, brown, weaver, wright, humberto, the 3 studs we got for Mike Lowell……an awful lot of bad pitching moves with only one thing in common….the GM…..he gets a pretty big pass here for stocking the minors with middle inning relief pitchers and phil hughes……he’s a good communicator, and has a plan…but he seems to be teflon with many of his moves….every bad move is because of George or Hank…….after 10 years, when is he accountable?

  30. David S says:

    Igawa is 2-4 with the major league team. By my calculations the Yankees paid $23 million per win from this fool. Pavano may be the American Idle but at least he gave the team 9 wins.

  31. Joseph M says:

    This is a no-brainer, Pavano was a legitimate major league player with a track record. Igawa, on the other hand was not. Worse than that, there were scouting reports around at the time and they were posted all over the internet that raised serious doubts about his ability to perform at the major league level. Hell, one report I read projected him at very best to be a 5th starter long man type. If an organization doesn’t have someone that fits that bill they’ll turn up on waivers sooner or later and you won’t be out 46 million.

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