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Monday, July 25, 2011

Thoughts on the Kei Igawa "Lost Yankee" Article

I read with interest The New York Times' big article about Kei Igawa, and how he is playing out his $20 million, 5-year contract in the minor leagues. I couldn't help but feel a little sorry for him. Even though he's got all that money, he's in what amounts to a dead-end job. No matter what he does in the minors, he will never get to pitch for the Yankees' big-league team again. And he desperately wants to pitch in MLB -- he twice turned down the chance to go to Japan, in favor of staying here.

Although the article let Brian Cashman play down the luxury-tax issue, it is actually a big reason why Igawa is where he is. The $4 million a year Igawa makes doesn't count towards the Yankees' payroll, unless he is put on the 40-man roster or pitches in the majors. Cashman denied that this money issue had anything to do with Igawa not getting a call-up since 2008, but how could that be, when his numbers are better than many of the journeymen and retreads who have gotten called up to the Yankees?

Once the Yankees decided they were never going to give Igawa a shot at the majors again, I do think the Yankees should have bitten the bullet on his contract and given him his freedom, financial consequences be damned. There's something cruel about taking away a player's hope like that, and dooming him to season after season in the minors, with no chance of getting to achieve his dream of pitching in the majors. People talk about sticking to your dreams, and eventually, they will come through. But until his contract ends, Igawa will never get the chance -- not even one start or relief appearance -- to pitch in the majors, no matter how hard he works.

Although the article makes a big point about how Igawa lives in Manhattan, and has his translator drive his car with him to Scranton or Trenton, Cashman made a rather snotty remark about that as well, saying that "Yeah, he’s passed me on the drive down to Trenton.. He drives faster than his fastball." What was the point of that gratuitous slam, other than to be a jerk?

On the other hand, Igawa comes off as an honorable, uncomplaining person in the article. I don't know how Igawa would have done with another chance with the Yankees, but Cashman doesn't really know, either. And it seems to me that they should at least give him a shot at a September callup spot this year, just to be fair, at the end of his contract.

What do you think? Tell us about it!

7 comments:

William Tasker - Caribou, ME said...

I agree completely. And that was an awful thing for Cashman to say.

BrooklynGirl said...

+1 to your comments Lisa. On the one hand I can clearly see that the time he was in NY it was AWFUL and it just wasn't going to work. But at some point they should have let him go, even if they had to pick up a chunk of his salary. Since when has wasted money been an issue for the Yankees? I believe that management was clearly embarrassed(especially Cashman who didn't do his homework on this deal)that they kept him buried in Trenton. Some other team will give him a chance once his year is done in Scranton.

toosoxy said...

They should completely let him go. I hate it when teams do this. But the Yankees aren't the only ones keeping people just to keep them. I'm a Sox fan. And... while I'm optimistic about Dice-K- if I'm really going to look at the reality of the situation... it might be a good idea to have cut him loose awhile ago...

BrooklynGirl said...

Correction to my earlier post: I meant Scranton not Trenton (home of the AA team)

Uncle Mike said...

I don't care how embarrassed Cashman is about being the man who chose Igawa: His comment was completely out of line.

Igawa may not have been a good pitcher for the Yankees. He might never be a good pitcher for any MLB team. But at the moment, it looks like he's got more character than Cashman.

I think it may be time, after this season, win or lose, to give Cashman his golden parachute, and bring in someone new.

Roger 9 said...

Lisa, You are absolutely right vis a vis Kei Igawa. A glib remark coming from someone in Brian Cashman's position is just uncalled for.Igawa should have been released long ago.Who knows... there might be some GM out there who is willing to give this guy a last chance at fulfilling his dream. This is a perfect example of an insecure administrator just burying another mistake.

Uncle Mike said...

"An architect can plant vines, but a doctor has to bury his mistakes." -- Frank Lloyd Wright