Kei Igawa sets his very own record

Injuries up 26% since 2006
Aceves to start Thursday

In a rather dubious fashion, Kei Igawa tied a Scranton record yesterday, and in a few days, he’ll be the sole owner of the mark. PeteAbe with an assist from Chad Jennings, reports that Kei Igawa’s 26th win of his three-year stint at AAA Scranton ties the franchise record. He and Evan Thomas, a career minor leaguer with the Phillies organization, share this dubious distinction.

After the game, Igawa, stuck at AAA forever, kept his achievement in perspective. I can’t tell if he’s being somber or sarcastic. “As long as there is a record that I have chance of setting, it’s something the process to get through,” he said. “It’s a stepping stone, not a final goal of mine.”

Got that? Kei Igawa’s final goal is not to be the most winning Japanese pitcher in the history of the International League or Scranton’s most successful starter. I’m glad he cleared that up.

For his in-progress AAA career, Igawa is now 26-13 with a 3.56 ERA in 51 starts. He’s striking out over 7 per 9 innings and has a WHIP of 1.21. These decent minor league numbers though have not translated into Major League success. With the Yanks, he is 2-4 with a devilish 6.66 ERA in 16 games. Opponents have hit a stunning .302/.386/.549 off of the lefty. He was removed from the 40-man roster in 2008 and hasn’t seen Yankee pinstripes since a one-inning cameo last June. He is still under contract for the next two seasons.

At this point, there’s no real way to sugar coat the Yanks’ decision to sign Kei Igawa. They forked over $46 million for his services, and I doubt he’ll pitch another Big League inning before his contract ends following the 2011 season. While Peter Gammons once blamed Ron Guidry for tinkering with Igawa’s motion and alleged that the Red Sox would put in a waiver claim, that statement seemed more delusional than ever when Igawa passed through waivers last year.

Meanwhile, it is accepted knowledge that the Yanks decided to sign Igawa instead of taking a shot on Ted Lilly for four years and around $40 million. Lilly is third in the Majors in victories since then and 12th in strike outs. Ouch. This might just have been one of the worst Yankee decisions of the last five years.

But as we wait for the game to begin in a few hours, we will tip our caps to Kei Igawa. He now owns an American baseball record. It might be a dubious one, but it is a record indeed. The sad part is that he’ll probably have another two and a half seasons during which he can build on it.

Injuries up 26% since 2006
Aceves to start Thursday
  • Salty Buggah

    Kei Igawa for the International League Hall of Fame!!!!!!!!

    • For lack of a more creative name.. Alex

      Sadly, E-Dunc may one day join him

      • Mike Axisa

        Hah. Have you look at his numbers lately? You have to actually produce to be in any kind of HOF.

        • bryan w

          Why have they not been able to trade Igawa. I mean get anything for him no one cares anymore. Someone I’m sure would take a flier on this guy because every pitching coach thinks they can fix any pitcher. Trade him to St. Louis because I would love to see what Dave Duncan could do with Igawa. If he can get him to be a decent ML quality starter then I will believe in miracles.

  • J.R.

    At some point do the yankees just cut him and clear a space in the AAA rotation for someone who might make a difference?

  • BigBlueAL

    Kei Igawa is the pitching version of Crash Davis.

  • Jorge Steinbrenner

    The future’s so bright, he’s gotta wear shades…

    • Benjamin Kabak


      That made me laugh out loud.

    • For lack of a more creative name.. Alex


  • Reggie C.

    I almost feel bad for all parties involved.

    Igawa should have a chance to contribute to a non-contending ML team. Is there any way both sides can agree to mutually terminate the contract with the approval of the Player’s Association?

    • Zach

      The commish office didnt let ARod give up money while going to Boston so I doubt they’d let Igawa

      • Rick in Boston

        It wasn’t the commish, was it? It was the MLBPA not wanting their highest paid player to set a precedence and give up loads of money.

        • Zach

          My bad, it was the union, same principle though

    • Erad

      The Yankees are going to eat that salary one way or another. No need to void part of the contract. I imagine they could move ihm easily if they agreed to pay most or all of that salary, which they already are doing.

  • King of Fruitless Hypotheticals

    Wells+Doc for Igawa, Romine, Duncan

    • Salty Buggah

      Subsitute the other Duncan (don’t know which one you are referring to but it doesn’t matter)for Romine and it’s a deal.

      • King of Fruitless Hypotheticals

        I went with Romine, cause fruitless=/=patently absurd :)

  • LiveFromNewYork

    That was a knee-jerk reaction to the Dice-K signing. I think that Cashman thought that Igawa was flying under the radar, the unsung hero of Japan and he would look like a genius for signing him at so much less than Dice-K. Hopefully he’s learned something from that debacle.

    • Benjamin Kabak

      I think he also got some bad scouting reports from the Yanks’ Pacific Rim scouts. It was an organizational failure from top to bottom. Cashman isn’t the guy on the ground in Japan filing reports about these potential targets.

      • Zach

        But if Eiland didnt touch him he would have won Cy Young

      • mustang

        “Cashman isn’t the guy on the ground in Japan filing reports about these potential targets.”

        True, but at the end it was his decision and he chose Igawa as a cost cutting move over Lilly because somehow he thought they were similar pitchers.

  • gxpanos

    Nobody grooves FB’s up in the zone like the Kei-Man. I’m not surprised at this record at all! He’s also REALLY good in day games. It’s like the sun doesnt even bother him.

  • Zach

    His numbers are actually good in AAA, too bad they wont ever be in th majors, or atleast in NY.

  • sabernar

    Was this a PeteAbe guest post? Yikes.

  • Thomas

    I had the pleasure of seeing Igawa’s longest appearance as a Yankee in person. He lasted a whopping 6.1 innings against Oakland and gave up 4 ER, 3 BB, 5 H and 3 HRs, including 1 to Jason Kendall. I also got to see stellar pitching performances from Proctor (3 ER in 0.1 IP) and Mike Myers ( 0 IP, 1 H, 1 BB).

    The Yankees lost 7-0 and only got 1 hit. Needless to say I was kind of disappointed.

    • thurdonpaul

      thomas, you may be a jinx :)

  • Brian

    I think we’ll see him.

  • mustang

    “Meanwhile, it is accepted knowledge that the Yanks decided to sign Igawa instead of taking a shot on Ted Lilly for four years and around $40 million. Lilly is third in the Majors in victories since then and 12th in strike outs. Ouch. This might just have been one of the worst Yankee decisions of the last five years.’

    WOW….. After countless times of saying that the Igawa signing had nothing to do with Lilly. And blasting Lilly on numerous occasions and saying that Yankees only paid 16 million for Igawa and that the 26 million for his rights somehow doesn’t count we now get this. This is truly laughable the only thing missing is to remove “the worst Yankee decisions” and replace it with the worst Cashman decisions, but that would be asking for a total miracle

  • Greg C

    Or they could have just kept Ted Lilly in the first place. What did they get for him? Weaver who then became Kevin Brown. They could have paid Ted lilly $9 million total for 2003- 2006 instead of paying $36 million for Jeff Weaver and Kevin Brown through 2005 and no one in 2006.

    • mustang

      Yes, but that wasn’t Cashman’s fault either it was another “organizational failure”. Funny how all the good signing are Cashman and all the bad ones are “organizational failure”.

  • Lanny

    The signing of Igawa over guys like Lilly gets people fired. Cashman is holding pics of someone.

  • Jim M.

    OK – maybe I am naive or something, but if Igawa can continue to perform well at the AAA level, why wouldn’t he get another shot at the majors? Maybe not with the Yankees, but maybe they can trade him for a mid-level prospect to a weak team where he would make an acceptable 4th or 5th starter. Just thinking out loud.

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