« Top Defensive Free Agents | Main | Possible Cubs Matsuzaka Bid Amount »

Update on Igawa, Kuroda, Iwamura

As you probably have read, Japanese ERA leader and free agent Hiroki Kuroda has re-signed with his current team the Hiroshima Carps.  It was expected that he would stay in Japan, but it was thought he might sign with the Hanshin Tigers to be their ace.

At one point, the posting of 27 year-old southpaw Kei Igawa by Hanshin was said to depend on the team signing Kuroda to replace him as the staff ace.  Despite that option disappearing, it is expected that Igawa will still be posted this week.

71% of Japanese baseball fans filling out this survey believe Igawa will not succeed in the Majors (the orange represents "will not succeed.")

38 year-old starting pitcher Masumi Kuwata is a free agent and will try his hand at MLB this season.  The righty hasn't pitched well since 2002, however.  He might not make it out of Triple A, but the Indians have already shown interest.

The winning bid for third baseman Akinori Iwamura will not be made public by Yakult, but it is estimated to be just $1MM.  The winning team should be known around Monday or Tuesday.   


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Update on Igawa, Kuroda, Iwamura:


So we'll know next week about Iwamura. We're looking at the Indians, Phillies, and.....anyone else?

The Indians are probably going to show interest in a number of japanese pitchers for a relief role.

According to Philly newpapers they are not going to make a bid for Iwamura.....this sucks for a Phillies fan

Comical.. at $1mil, there should have been at least 20 teams bidding for his services.

That's a joke.

No kidding...he looks like a fine bargain to me. Smart teams will opt for the unknown who could post an .850 OPS for cheap as opposed to Pedro Feliz or something.

wow...as a Phils fan, I am speechless. that might be a worse mistake than trading Padilla for Ricardo Rodriguez.

Yeah not going after Iwamura is probably a bad decision. Considering the FA market you could potentially be paying Durham 8-9MM. That's a lot of cash to an injury prone player that could very well be out-performed by Iwamura who is going to cost a fraction of that.
Being a Cubs fan i would love to see this guy play 2B or CF in the event Ramirez is retained. If not stick him at 3B.

Wait.. I thought teams had until Friday to place bids on Iwamura...

One of the Boston papers have reported that the Sox are interested in Iwamura, in which case they would try to trade Lowell for bullpen help. I can't say that I'd be opposed to that idea.

I ask you this. IF IF IF Akinori Iwamura was the next great player, don't you think there would have been 20 teams bidding on him. If the bid didn't get over a million dollars that means GMs across the nation are shying away from him. I have a feeling when he gets over here you guys are going to realize this kid isn't everything hes cracked up to be. I read last night that he has won 5 consecutive gold gloves and has a 300 to 310 average 30 to 35 homers and 80 to 100 rbis. Not bad in Japan. It is a much different game over here though. If you remember Ichiro was a power hitter over in Japan. It just so happens he also had the bat handling skills of anyone on the planet and could run like the wind and had an arm like a cannon ( to fall back on). Don't worry Phils fans, Pat knows what he's doing.

Pat has done dumb things before. I'd rather have Iwamura than DeRosa for sure.

Ichiro was hardly a power hitter in Japan - hit more than 20 HR exactly twice in his entire career overseas. in his seven full seasons in Japan, he averaged less than 17 HR.

I don't know why nobody's pursuing Iwamura - he hit .389 in the WBC (25 points better than Ichiro), so it's not like he hasn't performed well on the big stage. maybe Matsuzaka is distracting everyone - who knows. all I see is that TPTB in Philadelphia decided to go for the "safer" option of pursuing mediocre third basemen on the wrong side of 30 like DeRosa and Helms - that's not smart.

Well if Pat has done dumb things before. Then this will be chalked up to most of the major leagues as doing a dumb thing and we will probably be the only people that saw that Akinori Iwamura is the next Mike Schmidt. I mean really guys, we can't judge this one till this guy comes over and we see. I'll give you a few reasons why Gillick isn't willing to make a hard core run at this guy. Kazuo Matsui, Chan Ho Park, Hideki Irabu need I go on. I think the point is made. Sure there are the Tad Iguchis and Ichiro Suzukis out there. But, I ask you this, tell me the last Japanese born player that had enough power to be a top ten third baseman in the major leagues. Not even the great Hideki Matsui falls into that category. There isn't one. If you want another David Bell at the hot corner for the Phils, be my guest, but I don't. Slick fielding mediocre power third basemen are a dime a dozen. Take this one if you want him. Ill pass.

Tell me the last Japanese born catcher, prior to 2006, who succeeded in the Majors. There were none. Does that make the Kenji Johjima signing a bad decision? Not all decisions can have precedent. There have hardly been any Japanese players who play 3B who have come over. That doesn't make Iwamura bad.

Iwamura isn't the next Mike Schmidt. nobody's the next Mike Schmidt. Mike Schmidt was the best third baseman to play baseball. Mike Schmidt isn't walking through that door.

could Iwamura be the next Eric Chavez? that's probably a best-case scenario, but I don't think it's unrealistic. the tenth-best 3B by OPS last year was Mike Lowell, with an .814 OPS and 20 HR. does Iwamura have enough power to hit 20 HR (at CBP!) and post an .800 OPS? I think I'd take that chance.

It doesn't make Johjima bad. But, certainly doesn't fit into the category of having enough power to be a top tier 3rd basemen either. My point was not to say that Japanese born players are not good. Fundamentally they are 2nd to none in the world. The point I was trying to make is that very few ( if any ) have the power makeup to be a home run threat to the likes of an Aramis Ramirez Miguel Cabrera( he is more like David Bell 10 to 20 homers and a slick glove). Most people that are on the Iwamura band wagon think he's going to hit 30 homers and drive in 100, like we're passing up on the next great 3rd basemen of our time. If we were passing up on that type of player, every other team in the majors would be chomping at the bit to get him. He won't be the next great 3rd basemen, he won't even come close. And to second on your comment about no Japanese 3rd basemen coming over, there's a reason for that. No team wants a 3rd baseman with mediocre power in the majors. Iwamura will probably be at second anyway for that very reason.

I am alone on this one. No one is the next Schmidt that's right. Eric Chavez ? Are you insane.... If this kid was Chavez, WHY WOULD NO ONE WANT TO BID ON HIM? Are we the smartest people on earth? I guess so. Every major league GM in baseball is stupid. Every Japanese advanced scout in baseball that has observed Iwamura doesn't know that he will hit 20 to 30 homers this coming season. But somehow we do. We haven't watched him or seen any tapes. But this kid is the next Eric Chavez. For some reason NO ONE wants him for third base. It's amazing how smart the public is and how dumb every major league baseball gm, scout, and brass member of every team is. We know and they don't. It's truely amazing. I leave you with this one last point. If Iwamura was the next Eric Chavez and would cost the Phillies 1.1 mil on the bid and say 4 to 5 mil a year for 3 years. WHY ON EARTH WOULD THEY PASS THAT UP? I'll tell ya, because he isn't the player you think he is.

So basically all decisions made by MLB teams are correct, because they are MLB teams are we are not.

I would never in a million years say the public's opinion is wrong. But, when 2 or 3 teams want a guy that is a 3rd baseman in Japan for 2nd base. That tells me he isnt a major league ready 3rd baseman. Not one team in baseball wants this guy for 3rd. Doesn't that speak volumes?

I forgot the exact amounts, but wasn't Ichiro posted at something like $13MM and about the same contract Iwamura is expected to get? Pretty cheap for a guy who became one of the best players in MLB.

No one is syaing Iwamura is going to be a top third baseman. But getting a Gold Glove caliber, high average hitter with decent power for a $1MM post and maybe $15MM contract? Sounds like a great deal to me.

And before anyone ridicules me because they're stupid and didn't understand my comment, I am no way saying that Iwamura will be the next Ichiro.

Well didn't you just describe a top flight 3rd baseman. Sounds like a gold glove caliber, high average hitter with decent power is an upper echelon 3rd baseman. The problem with your logic is that he isn't that. He will not have the power you need to be a decent 3rd baseman. He won't play 3rd in the majors. He will play second. There is only one team even close to interested in that senario and they have to trade Lowell first. For the record you were right they paid 13.1MM to gain the rights to sign Ichiro from the Orix Blue Wave in 2000. But, comparing the two isn't realistic. Ichiro IS the best bat handler on planet Earth and has one of the best arms. Think of it this way. Ichiro was posted 6 years ago, he was the first player to utilize the posting system and gained 13.1 million dollars. Iwamura is being posted today and is gaining 1/13 of that. Is that because he isn't even close to having Ichiro's talent. I take it as that. But, like Roto said, every major league team in baseball COULD be wrong and we could be right.

And by the way, I would never say you compared the two in anyway other than how they were posted. That is almost as crazy as AE saying Iwamura will be the next Eric Chavez. Laugh heartily.

Official bids don't have to be in until Friday, so it's safe to assume this "source" is incorrect.

As for only a handful of teams bidding on Iwamura, there's only a handful of teams bidding on Soriano... it doesn't make him any less of a player.

Only teams with a need at 3B or 2B will be pursuing him heavily.

I wouldn't be surprised to see a team come out of nowhere and bid over $5mil to take Iwamura.

allabout, you're obviously not reading my posts if you missed the part where I said that Chavez was a "best case scenario." I still think that's entirely reasonable - Chavez's career numbers are .271/.350/.489, averaging 29 HR. based on Iwamura's Japanese stats, that looks entirely possible - again, as a **best case scenario**. obviously, that means I think he's likely to do worse than that, because that's kind of what "best case scenario" implies. if that's not getting through to you, don't know what else I can say.

if you go back to that post that you find so entertaining again, you'll also see I was actually comparing Iwamura to the 2006 version of Mike Lowell - i.e., a very good defensive 3B with some pop. obviously you don't think that's "top flight," whatever that means - I guess that means "not Cabrera," which is certainly true. maybe "above average" is more accurate, whatever. and obviously you don't think an OPS of .775/.800 or so and GG-caliber defense from a 27-year old is worth something around $6-8MM a year. uh, okay, fine...we can always pay Wes Helms half that for his stone glove and mediocre bat, which I'm sure will work out great.

As for Soriano, there aren't many teams who are willing to pay the exorbanent amount that he will command and will recieve. It's a little different with Iwamura. He isn't commanding a king's ransom for his services and still no one wants him to play 3rd for them. As for AE. I cut and pasted it for ya. " could Iwamura be the next Eric Chavez? that's probably a best-case scenario, but I don't think it's unrealistic ". That sounds like you're considering the two to be quite similar. Everyone's entitled to believe what they want. I said it before and i'll say it again. TUFFY RHODES HIT 50 HOMERS IN JAPAN. Does that mean he could hit 45 in the majors? I don't think so. Japanese baseball on an entire scale hasn't produced one substantial perennial home run threat in the major leagues ever. What you are predicting AE, is that Iwamura will be the greatest home run hitter that Japan has ever produced to play in the major leagues. That's a big prediction.

What source? This is all from Yahoo Japan. Maybe something got lost in translation.

I didn't say that Iwamura's winning bid was in. $1MM is the estimate for what it will be.

Just for clarification. Hideki MAtsui, as most would agree, is probably the best home run hitter Japan has ever produced to play in the majors. He averages .297 23 and 108.

Is anyone bold enough to predict that Iwamura will have the same success if not more than Matsui, in an inflated Yankees lineup? I wouldn't not in a million year.

I don't think Iwamura will hit 30 HRs, but I think 20 is likely, with an average over .300 and some great defense. I think he'd be a solid #2 hitter in the Boston lineup, assuming Loretta doesn't return.

I think people are underestimating Japanese baseball. NPB has made major strides in recent years and is now considered between AAA and MLB talent-wise. Sure "Tuffy Rhodes hit 50 homers in Japan", but Brady Anderson hit like 51 in MLB too. And let's not forget Javy Lopez hitting around 45 as well. The point is, unlikely things happen. Iwamura will be a good player worth the money it costs to acquire him.

If your going to tell me that Iwamura will bat .300 and have 25HR that is a big improvement over Nunez, Helm and Derosa combined. Don't like it. BTW, there are plenty japan born players that have made it then have not. Even Nomo was good for a while.

I think he will be around this

250-270 BA 10-16 HR 60-80 RBI 750 OPS in his first year.

could be wrong but somewhere in that area is how I see it playing out.

Baseballfan, to me that sounds about right. Now you are coming into DeRosa and Helms territory. Except I think DeRosa has more than 10 to 16 homers in him. But, DeRosa and Helms are going to be half the price and for the same amount of production.

DeRosa had a career year dude. And you think he'll re-establish career high of at least 3 more HRs. Now that's laughable. I would give Iwamura a 30% chance of leading the 3B FA list that is on this site (not counting Aramis) in HRs. The Avg NL 3B only hit around 15 HRs anyway. Regardless of HRs, if he had doubles power that's sufficient.

I had a gut feeling we never were gonna get this guy. But certainly I think taking this calculated gamble is probably the best move they could make for 3B. I would bet money that Akinori is worth more wins this coming year then Helms and D ro combined. That's what I think you can't argue. All around he's a better player then both. I think his low ball projections are what you're gonna get from Derosa. And I think a 27 yr old has been known to put a career year out there every now and then.

Look at it that way and why not just go after Aramis Ramirez ? Why wouldn't you go after Ramirez? MONEY. Money is the all determining factor for everything that is baseball. If you see what you're going to get out Iwamura , against what it's going to cost, it makes more sense to go after DeRosa. He will cost half and put up the astoundingly similiar mediocre numbers. Obviously, you want to put the best nine players you can everyday on the diamond. But, the reality is even the Yankees have their limits. You have to compare cost to production and go from there.

Can't go after Ramirez because the Cubs have his rights. Iwamura looks like 2 million to win the bid. 5-8 million per year. If no one is interested in him I can see getting him for closer to 5. And we can play hardball with him and lose nothing.

DeRosa had a career year and could ask for 2-3 million a year. I would spend 2-3 million a year on the upside of a 27 yr old then a career year from a 32 year old part time player.

DeRosa is more likely to mirror the David Bell signing then Iwamura would. Also over the same 3 year period Iwamura can only really get better while DeRosa would decline given their ages.

"He won't play 3rd in the majors. He will play second. There is only one team even close to interested in that senario[sic] and they have to trade Lowell first."

The Indians don't have Lowell.

2nd base is, in my opinion, the second biggest whole Cleveland needs to address right now (the bullpen being number 1, and Japan might be the answer there anyway).

You can say what you want about translating power numbers from Japan to MLB, but I don't think there's much of an argument for translating a gold glove (or its Japanese equivalent). Am I correct in assuming Iwamura plays mostly in domes, since that's all I've ever seen on TV? On artificial turf? Notoriously hard to field? Especially in Japan, where contact and ground balls are the name of the game. Add that to Indians GM Mark Shapiro's insistance on a defense-oriented acquisition list (the Indians were 2nd in the league in runs scored last year), and its commitment to Andy Marte at third, and Iwamura seems to be a perfect fit for Cleveland.

15-20 home runs from a guy who can make contact, play fundamentally (on a Cleveland team notorious for not being able to bunt), hit for at least league average at 2nd, and shine in the field? And he's only 27. Anything under 6 million is a steal in my opinion.

Also, local reports quote Shapiro as saying two Japanese players have been targeted "very aggressively" by the team. And Matsuzaka is definitely not one of them. Not something to hang your hat on, but I don't see Cleveland NOT doing everything it can to make Iwamura an Indian.

sorry allabouthephils, but I have to disagree with you completely, partially because some of the facts you are stating are plain wrong, and partially because some of the facts which you are stating (which are true) have nothing to do with this.

First of all, Ichiro was never a power hitter, unless you consider averaging 15-20HR a year makes you a power hitter. Also, this has nothing to do with this but Ichiro COULD hit for power, this is no real big news either, every year there have been talks about getting Ichiro to play in the homerun derby.

Second of all, it is true that some Japanese players have failed miserably, (like Irabu), but the portion of players who have succeeded is quite a bit bigger than you think. Ichiro, Hasegawa, Sasaki, H. Matsui, Ohka, Nomo, Ishii (somewhat, if he stopped walking people...), Otsuka, Takatsu, Iguchi, Johjima, etc. etc. That is a pretty long list compared to the failure list.

Third of all, I just do not see why you are so obsessed with HR power. Yes you want some power from your 3B, but you do not necessarily HAVE to have power from there either. Maybe your team has enough power already and you want a guy like Iwamura who will hit for good average and decent power with good defense.

Fourth of all, where did you get this information about nobody wanting him as a 3B? All we know is that Iwamura is prepared to play 2B or CF if the team wants him to, he is just showing he is willing to change himself to help the team, unlike some cocky players who just refuse to switch positions or hit DH. There have been plenty of reports stating teams are very interested in him as a 3B.

Last of all, we are talking about his posting fee, and we are talking about a guess. Maybe people think the posting fee will be around 1M, but this does not necessarily mean teams think he is only worth 1M, it means teams think they can gain his rights with 1M. For example, lets say there is some genius player who you think will hit 100HR and hit .400, but no other team knows about him. Are you going to post 30M because you think he is worth it, or are you going to post $1 because you know nobody else knows about him?

I have to agree that Japanese players tend to drop in power when they make it over here, but even taking that into account I would say most people agree with me that Iwamura is looking like a player teams should be taking seriously, especially given the poor FA list this year.

Matsui also averaged over .500 SLG after his first year in the major with a EQA over .300 in his last 3 year. which is exellent no matter how you spin it.

If the commitment on Iwamura is something like 2M bid and 5-8M a year i'd definately take a chance on him.

Again, the Phillies don't exactly need super hitters, they had very little problem scoring runs this year, they need guys that can field and offer at least a adequet bat at 3rd.

Derosa has his problems. and no he is not going to sign for 1-2M, if a team is going to look for him as a starter he's going to go down in the neighborhood of at least 5M a year. and his fielding at 3rd is not exactly top notch.

If both are going to cost 5M or so, I'd rather have a younger guy that I know can field but not sure if he can hit beyond average than a guy that might hit or might suck again and while he can play many position isn't exactly great at any of them. and is 4 to 5 years older.

A lot of those Japanese guys you listed as successes don't strike me as successes. Kaz Ishii if he stops walking people? You can't stick "ifs" in there. Is Ohka really a success? I wouldn't call him one. He's passable.

Post a comment

This weblog only allows comments from registered users. To comment, please Sign In.