Kei Igawa is a 27 year-old southpaw with the Hanshin Tigers in Japan. He pitched 200 innings this year with a 3.11 ERA and 8.3 K/9, winning 13 games.
Igawa made a request for posting after 2005, but was denied. While Igawa hopes to be posted this winter, the Tigers’ owner seems opposed to the idea. There’s also the somewhat odd and perhaps related occurence of Igawa breaking down in tears on the mound after his final home start. If he’s not posted, Igawa will become a free agent after the 2009 season.
Reader Iwanaga Tak was kind enough to give me some info and translate this article for me. Apparently, there is a chance Igawa could be posted if Hanshin signs free agent hurler Hiroki Kuroda to replace him as their ace. American scouts haven’t shown much interest in the 31 year-old Kuroda, who is a free agent.
Speculation has Igawa’s posting fee expected to be around $10MM, a little less than Ichiro’s. If he is posted, he’d be a #3-4 type starter with a salary in the range of $3MM annually. Interested parties include the Mariners, Dodgers, Mets, Braves, and Tigers. Hanshin should make a decision about posting Igawa after the Japan Series, which starts next week.