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

    • 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.

  1. 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.

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

  3. 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?