Discussion: Akinori Iwamura

The Rays lost starting second baseman Akinori Iwamura to a knee injury earlier in the season, but the defending AL Champs haven't missed him too much because Ben Zobrist has been nothing short of amazing as his replacement. With Aki on a rehab assignment (six games with Triple-A Durham this week, including tonight), the Rays are close to getting him back just in time for September call-ups.

While carrying both players in September won't be much of a problem, next season may be a different story. The team holds a $4.25MM options for Iwamura's services next year, but could choose to buy him out for $250K. There has been talk of Tampa needing to shed some salary after the season, possibly by moving someone like Scott Kazmir or Carl Crawford, and the team could stand to save themselves a nice chunk of change by buying Iwamura out. Of course, they always have the option of keeping both players given Zobrist's versatility.

What do you think they should do with Iwamura? Perhaps the best option would be to pick up his option then trade him, similar to what the Yankees did with Gary Sheffield a few years ago. Should they let him go, keep him, or do something else all together?

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