Pirates Release Iwamura, Outright Kratz

The Pirates have given infielder Akinori Iwamura his unconditional release, tweets Rob Biertempfel of The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. He was designated for assignment along with catcher Erik Kratz earlier this week. Biertempfel says Kratz cleared waivers and was outrighted to Triple-A Indianapolis.

Iwamura, 31, failed to meet even the lowest of expectations after being acquired from the Rays last offseason. He hit just .182/.292/.267 in 193 plate appearances for the big league team in 2010, but was a bit better in Triple-A with a .264/.404/.393 line. This was the second time the Pirates designated Iwamura for assignment this season, certainly not what they expected to do with their highest-paid position player.

Kratz, 30, debuted in the major leagues this summer after a decade in the minors. His minor league numbers suggest he has some pop and patience, but he collected just four singles and two walks in 36 big league plate appearances.

15 Responses to Pirates Release Iwamura, Outright Kratz Leave a Reply

  1. bucco_nation 5 years ago


  2. Ian_Smell 5 years ago

    Aki Time is officially over.

  3. penpaper 5 years ago

    What a disaster. Probably one of the worst negative moves this season.

    • Double negative, does that mean you think the Bucs trading for Aki was a good move? Maybe you just don’t like the move so much you were being redundant so we’d know how much you dislike it? 😉

  4. penpaper 5 years ago

    What a disaster. Probably one of the worst negative moves this season.

  5. Backup_Slider 5 years ago

    With Iwamura and Kazuo Matsui effectively flunking out of MLB in 2010, by my count that leaves only 3 position-playing NPB imports left in MLB: Hideki Matsui, Fukudome, and Ichiro. It is not out of the realm of possibility that the number will be down to zero as early as the 2013 season.

    • Ian_Smell 5 years ago

      It’s weird that they’re all left handed hitting outfielders.

      • Backup_Slider 5 years ago

        Hopefully Bud Selig will recognize this problem and establish MLB youth academies in Japan with the intent of discouraging their young position players from spending so much time doing calisthenics and practicing fundamentals. “Hit the ball, Yoshi. Hit the ball.”

    • Anyone notice how well Fukudome has played this year? No second half plunge this time, having Colvin around to spell him for good stretches of time seems to have kept him fresh, I think that must be the key. He get’s tired in the second half and slumps. Keep him well rested and he’s a productive player.

      • mrsjohnmiltonrocks 5 years ago

        Fukudome does have some skills and it seems like the Cubs have figured a way to maximize them.

      • Backup_Slider 5 years ago

        Fukudome is perhaps the last hope as far as there being a NPB position player alum in MLB come 2013. If he produces at his 2010 level in 2011, then he will figure to get some free agent offers to remain in MLB for 2012, leaving him with the opportunity to stay here if he so desires. I seriously doubt that your Cubs would extend such an offer considering how much they will have overpaid him from 2008-2011. Even with the good numbers Fukudome has posted so far this year, he’s still terribly overpaid.

    • I don’t think it is due to a lack of talent in Japan, just an unwillingness on the part of their players to leave Japan. Ichiro was almost a ten-year vet in Japan. In a way his career here could almost be classified as a retirement plan.

      I bet one day we see Darvish.

  6. johnsilver 5 years ago

    Hope Tampa gives him a 2nd shot at reclaiming his career.

    Bucs fans, don’t forget how bad his knee (left think it is) was torn up in 2009 while being broken up during a DP. He for sure is still wearing that brace on it. He lost a lot of range when he came back from the DL 1st time from the injury, maybe that is still bothering Aki also.

  7. invader3k 5 years ago

    I never understood why the Pirates bothered trading for Iwamura to begin with. Decent player at the time, but not someone to build around.

  8. impliedi 5 years ago


    Aki was not signed as a guy to build around, only as a stop gap because of…
    a. The hole the Pirates created at 2nd when they traded Freddy Sanchez.
    b. They had had enough of The Delwyn Young Experiment.
    c. The Pirates have a dearth of middle infield prospects to fill in at 2nd (until Neil Walker came in from out of the blue.)

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