Igawa to work out of the bullpen this year

According to Joel Sherman of the NY Post, in a last-ditch effort to extract some level of value from Japanese southpaw, Kei Igawa, who ultimately cost the team over $46 million (posting fee and a four-year contract) and forced the front office to reevaluate its scouting program, the Yankees have decided to use Igawa strictly as a reliever this spring. Sherman also adds that the 30-year old will continue to work out of the bullpen while with Scranton, as well.

If there is no value to be had from Igawa as a starter, then it makes sense to try him as a reliever and, frankly, I am surprised that the Yankees have not tried this earlier, as it is an idea I have pondered since 2007. Igawa’s minor-league numbers against lefties are strong – 3.25 FIP, 7.09 K/9, 1.49 BB/9 – and would likely improve as a reliever. If the Yankees are not comfortable with Boone Logan, then maybe Igawa could get a shot later this season as the second lefty out of the bullpen. At this point, the biggest issue is whether or not he deserves a spot on the roster.

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5 thoughts on “Igawa to work out of the bullpen this year

  1. Steve S.

    The reason that it hasn’t been tried sooner is he’s not much more successful facing Lefties than he is Righties.

    http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/split.cgi?n1=igawake01&year=Career&t=p#plato

    So making him a LOOGY is out. You just have to hope his stuff plays up in the bullpen.

    • I don’t think we can glean anything from his major league splits, which are based on fewer than 75 innings pitched. That’s a sample size issue. His minor league splits have a lot more innings to look at and the move seems smart based on them.

  2. -Leftylarry

    I love this move and expect it last year.He’s pretty tough on lefties and will throw harder an inning or batter at a time.

  3. RollingWave

    and if he sucks, Chan Ho Park would probably be more than willing to use his super wheelhouse kick on him.

  4. Lou

    How would this move impact the luxury tax? I have heard this several times, but I was under the impression that since he was not on the 40 Man roster he does not count against the tax. Since Igawa makes $5M per year, wouldn’t putting him on the ML roster cost the Yanks an additional 2M?

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