A week ago for my Top 50 Free Agents list, I ranked lefty Kei Igawa 24th overall and had this to say:
"The Cubs have a clear need for a starter or two, and an increased focus on scouting Japan could lead to Jim Hendry to Igawa. Only one team can get Matsuzaka, after all. Igawa would be a fine consolation prize."
With the winning Matsuzaka bid likely to exceed $30MM, it appears that my speculation could become reality. After reading some scouting reports on Igawa, though, I wonder if I ranked him too high. Keith Law ranked him 31st, noting a below average fastball that sets up his plus curve.
With Igawa, the Cubs’ rotation would look something like this:
Wade Miller/Mark Prior
Relying on the oft-injured Miller/Prior combo for the fifth starter spot could be workable, if the Cubs get a big fish to be the #2 starter. That could be Vicente Padilla or Randy Wolf in my mind. Padilla shares an agent with Aramis Ramirez and Jim Hendry has discussed the possibility.