NPB Tracker's Patrick Newman passes along a report indicating that infielder Akinori Iwamura has a basic agreement in place with the Rakuten Golden Eagles.
Iwamura, 32 in February, hit just .173/.285/.250 in 229 plate appearances split between the Pirates and Athletics this season. In three seasons with Tampa Bay, he hit a far more respectable .281/.354/.393 while moving from third to second base. Iwamura played eight years with Tokyo Yakult Swallows before joining the then-Devil Rays, who won his rights with a $4.5MM bid.
Iwamura indicated a desire to remain in North America just last month, but perhaps the offer from Rakuten was just too good to pass up.
If it weren’t for his injury back in ’09 against the Marlins, who knows what could have happened…He was never the same after that…His swing wasn’t the same either…Good luck Aki.
This guy will go back to hitting 30 hr a year in the Japanese League. Never really got his feet back under him after Evan Longoria pushed him over to 2B.
Aki was one of the worst players in Major League Baseball this year (-1.6 bWAR) and was below replacement on both offense and defense. Perhaps SPAN is right and it’s related to injuries, but I can’t imagine an MLB team offering him much more than a minor league deal and an invite to camp. Decent player in his time with Tampa at least.
Aki Time is over.
I love Aki, but he’s probably better off in Japan where he can hit .300 with 40+ home runs again…