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Tuesday, November 28, 2006

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In all seriousness, Igawa's numbers look good -- not as good as Matsuzaka's, but hey, who's counting? This will definitely ad dyet another wrinkle to the rivalry, assuming both pitchers get signed, and I'm intently curious how all the Matsuzaka bashers at LoHud and NYYFans will react to an unknown Japanese prospect of their own with worse numbers.

He's the Yankees' Honda to the Sox's Lexus.

Question of the night: What has more spin? Daisuke Matsuzaka's supposed Gyroball or the comments about to emanate from Yankees fans everywhere?

YES!!!! Igawa!!! The pitcher we've all secretly wanted these past three years!!!

I kept on bringing his name up the last few weeks (though for some mental block, I kept on spelling his name Iwaga instead of Igawa) but it's still quite a huge chunk of change. If he can be a steady 3rd-4th starter, it'll be good enough for me (minus the huge financal aspect, which you can pretty much quote what I've said about DM).

I still maintain it's way too expensive, but then the market that got jacked up by DM and Eaton..

Though of course, DM is bargain at this rate, if Wolf and other end of the rotation starters can get 10+ mil..

It's worth noting that the argument that the bid doesn't count for payroll actually works even better for the Yanks, because they actually do pay luxury tax (as oppose to the Sox, though it obviously gives them more room to operate), but you can do the math for something like 18 mil per.

Hopefully this will get lost in the Matsuzaka frenzy, yielding a less pressured environment than it would be otherwise..

As I said, Pavano's bar really just keeps getting lower. If only he can stay healthy, even if he pitches 4.20 - 4.50 ERA, he'll actually be "cheap" in this market..

Oh ya, and hopefully they won't have to pay so much, considering the agent isn't Boras..

Looks like a 4 or 5 starter to me, and i suppose the Yanks see this as cheaper than Ted Lilly, after taxes. A bit scary that he asked to be posted last year, because he was getting ripped so bad in Japan. Anyway, looks to be a dependable innings eater while the Yanks usher out the old folks and work in the younglings. But let's see how this thing pans out....

I hope they lowball the offer.

By the way, apparently Wolf accepted an 8 mil per to the Dodgers, probably leaving money on the table. But then he gets to stay in the NL and pitch in a friendly stadium in a hometown. Ah well.

Did New York just pay $25M to talk to the lefty version of Javier Vazquez?

$25m...wow, that's a lot of t-shirts...

I haven't commented on his ability thus far since I had been doing tons of research on DM, and none on Igawa. But I think from DM you expect an ace (at least eventually) while Igawa I hold very low expectations..

is he half as good as dm?

Yes, but the problem is no one knows which half.

Classic.

That is all.

...good one ag...

THIS IS UNREAL!!! I just took this from the thread at NYYFans.com, but I had to, as you will see and read.

Re: Kei Igawa: Consolation Prize in Matsuzaka sweepstakes?
I think the reasonable guess would be a decent 3/4 pitcher works 200+ innings. I translated this article from a Japanese website for fun. It's more than 100 items in the original article and I skipped some too cultural specific joke to make it 100 total.

Well, you decide it yourself what kind of pitcher Igawa is after you finish reading, and again, forgive my very possible poor traslation and chinglish.

OK. Now the legend of Igawa starts here:

1.Only has 10,000 Yen ($85) with him on road trip, to save money on remote control cars.

2.Plays remote helicopter all day at off days. Offered a broken propeller to fans as a prize at a regular column called “Bat Corner” on Weekly Baseball Magazine.

3.Ate 100 plates of sushi on Shinjo’s treat.
(On philosophy of eating) “If you aren’t going to be full no matter how much you eat, then eat until you’re sick of it.”

4.Pre-ordered the new PS2 online when it was first released. Had it the first day when it was on the market.

5.Signature is like this: http://2chart.fc2web.com/2chart/igawa.html
(Note: That’s the type font. Anybody can sign like this)

6.Tried to avoid the throw-you-in-the-air celebration when team clinched division. However, teammates forced him into the circle and tossed him around.

7.Practiced and pitched against the wall alone in his first all-star game. Shugo Fujii from Yakult Swallows couldn’t stand it and came to play catch ball with him.

8.Team Hiroshima Toyo Carp made a special “Meka Igawa” (Robot Igawa) pitching machine, which could throw a lefty slider to imitate Igawa’s pitch.
9.Really wanted to go home to watch “Pride GP” (Note: A Martial art fighting contest) and hence accelerated his pace of pitching.

10.Answer to how he spends his free money (from right to left):

1.Trainer’s fee. 2. Video game 3. Remote Cars 4. Convenience Store.
http://2chart.fc2web.com/2chart/igawa2.html
(Note: He cares about his training pretty much.)

11.Enthusiastic in pursuing accountant or data analyst career in high school, in order to have alternative choice for his “likely to fail baseball career”.

12.Well-known Actress Yamaguchi (see photo) called him. He said, “I don’t know you” then hanged up. (Comment: Maybe our captain can give him some tips…)
(http://tucool.fan8.com/specialties/shankm6/02.jpg )

13.Discussed a lot about Japanese soccer in SPA! Magazine.

14.Bought tons of game reviews and walkthroughs at Yokohama’s bookstore.

15.Diligently finished “ALL” the chocolate gifts he got from fans.

16.Quote: “I’ll be careful about the comebackers hit by Yomiuri Giants’ batters”

17.Still a virgin when he turned pro. Manager Nomura ordered him to lose it.

18.Though earned more than 100 M yen per year (roughly 1M $/year), he took only 30,000 yen (about $250) with him to the spring training camp. Used subway instead of taxi in moving days. The only thing he bought at the end of camp is a CD (3000 yen), which he took the bus to bought it at the nearest town

19.Instantly gained much more weight after he moved out of the dormitory (note: Hanshin Tigers has its own dormitory for new players and rookies), and unable to be back into shape before next season.

20.Teammates call him “Dappe”. When asked if it would to be too presumptuous, he answered, “No problem at all.” (Note: Dappe is the common suffix of the Ibaraki dialect, at where he was born)

21.When lived in “Village of Tiger Blow” (Dorm for new players and rookies), the dorm supervisor shouted “Go out and have some life!” at him for he always spends all day in his room playing remote control model car. So he started to play remote control HELICOPTER instead.

22.“It’s relaxing”, he said, about why he still lived in the dorm (at that time). Rent is lower than 40,000 yen (less than $400) a month. Finally he was forced to move out (reluctantly) after 2003 season (to accommodate other rookies).

23.When he was forced to move out of the dorm, he asked his team if he could live in a trailer house in Koshien Stadium’s (home court) parking lot. Of course team rejected that.

24.Tagline on the poster outside video game shop near Koshien Stadium: “Master Igawa, please buy me home”

25. Die hard Japanese national soccer team fan.

26. Drove to self-training facility at the speed of 20km/hr (about 13Mile/hr) on a road with no other turns or splits, and late for half an hour. Caught up by a farm tractor in the way and caused major traffic jam.

27. Didn’t really care about the division title and go back to the dorm to take a nap before the game they clinched. He was called to the field when the team was about to win.

28. Asked the recipe from the chef at the training camp about a French dish potaufeu, and practiced to do it himself after that.

29. Attention is caught accidentally by the doll picking crane machine next to the video arcade where he really wants to go. Spent whole time there and even forgot his wallet there.

30. Teammate gave him the game ball to celebrate his 1,000 inning. He threw that ball to the fans (it is recovered eventually).

31. Not intend to join the division title beer shower. Tried to be unnoticed in the corner of the locker room and happily distributed the beers to all his teammates. Unfortunately he finally got his teammates’ attention and instantly got knocked out by the beer shower. Scheduled appointments for following days were all cancelled because of that. (Note: Igawa is probably the most vulnerable player to alcoholic beverage in the world.)

32. (Answer to what he wants to work on about his 2006 season) “Ronaldinho” (Note: Soccer player, who is the middle field in Brazil national soccer team) (Note: WTF…….)

33. Like to read realistic novel, in order to practice the ability to concentrate.

34. Shown and demonstrated the remote control car as his favorite hobby on a TV show. Unfortunately, the remote broke down unexpectedly.
35. Great appetite, fearlessly eat lunchbox in front of his manager.

36. Ramen called “Igawa special” is on the menu at the players-only restaurant in Tokyo dome. Miso and Soy sauce are in this ramen. Nobody eats that besides Igawa himself.

37. His minor league manager: “He can’t go back to the dorm from the field alone.”

38. Wants to be a better player because he wants himself to have a better original setting in “Live Baseball” (Note: THE famous baseball video game in Japan”). Reason? Rumor says that Igawa’ brother compared Igawa to Koji Uehara (Yomiuri Giant’s Ace, starting pitcher against United States in World Baseball Classic) when he played this video game and complained, “If only my brother could be a little bit better….”

39. Strongly recommend the team to add internet access in the dorm.

40. As Hanshin Tiger’s ace, he plays tons of combat games in his computer and never misses any episode of “Conan”. (Note: Popular manga and anime about youngster detective.)

41. Took an early leave at the division title celebration night to prepare for next day’s game. Needs only two hours and twelve minutes to complete a 1 earned run game next day.

42. “No hair cut at winning streak”. It lasted about three months (12 wins) and his hair style became outrageous.

43. He took taxi to the Yokohama stadium after he got off the subway to attend his second all-star game. He regretfully found out that the stadium is in walking distance.

44. Bought a Toyota Celsior for his father and furnished their house at his expense.

45. Too focused on his training. Knew his manager Nomura resigned from his neighbor (Note: after he went back from his self-training in Florida).

46. Igawa’s mother: He used to play with his sister with girly stuff when he was a kid.

47. Teaches his coach Wada about computers.

48. From one rookie who’s about to join the team, “I want to see him naked.”

49. At the off day after winning the division, spotted in second-handed video game store buying video games. Next day, he threw a shutout against the Giants.

50. Advertised about his personal homepage in “Word from Tiger warriors.” (Note: Team PR program)

51. Asked about where he wants to go at team’s group abroad vacation (team treat for division title), he said, “Dubai”. Reason? “I want to see where all this oil got drilled out.”

52. “Who is it?” the response when he saw the picture of Livedoor’s CEO.

53. Dined out with his teammate Kanemoto one day, but left right after he finished his own dish.

54. Denounced that the baseball with his signature on at Yahoo Auction Japan website is fake.

55. Refuse to go abroad vacation with his teammates to celebrate the title. His manager got really unhappy about it.

56. Told his teammate, “Fix your broken PS2 disk by throwing them into your freezer” and it didn’t work.

57. Play FF10 all the way to disk3 and complete all roles and characteristics.

58. Rode more than 15 miles on bicycle from home to school when he was in high school .Usually woke up late so rushed every time, and that’s why he had such tough lower body.

59. Had a shutout game in 2003 season garbage time, a no-hitter in 2004 season. Reason? Missed special broadcasting of “Conan” show and really pissed off.

60. Busted into other rookie’s dorm and shouted at them by using his Ibaraki dialect. Took their remote control away.

61. Really care about the stock market in CHINA.

62. His catcher Yano: “Most unlikely pitcher to take suggestion.”

63. If someone asks him to sign on a gameboy, he’ll sign something like,”I don’t know they got this color” or something like that.

64. Watches the game (when he’s not pitching) in infield audience seats, not dugout.

65. Diehard soccer fan. Joined the soccer club in middle school. He chose baseball club instead of soccer club in his senior high school because his school don’t have one.

66. Interested in organizing his room.

67. Likes to sleep

68. Feel ashamed about his large appetite. Eat sukiyaki by facing the wall to feel better.

69. Scolded by one taxi driver (Note: About his hair, I suppose).

70. Contemporary pitcher Igayashi from Swallows told him, “Let me tell you a fine barber shop and get your hair cut.”

71. Ordered his meal in Osaka Dome like this: “Please give me noodles which can help me win.”

72. Doesn’t like other people see his face. Take night trains from Hiroshima to Osaka after night games.

73. His coach Sato ordered him to get a hair cut, so he had it, half inch short.

74. Moved out from the dorm and lived by himself starting from December 2003, but some of his stuff are still not unpacked yet.

75. When he was asked to comment on his teammate Ramon Morel got the axe, he said, “(He) Press B but don’t know how to accelerate” (Note: If you ever played Super Mario Bros….)

76. Had a trip to the famous Matsuyama hot spring. But only used the normal tub in his room instead of the famous outdoor hot spring.

77. Have hundreds of video tapes about soccer in his house.

78. Got a letter from his fan with cash in it, said “get a hair cut”.

79. Made a lot of suggestions about tactics and formation to Japanese soccer team before Olympics in Athens. “This will give you medals”, that’s what he said.

80. Soccer player Miyamoto took him to BBQ house then asked about his favorite. Answer: “BBQ fish”

81. Got a cold before the trip to Hawaii (treat by the team to celebrate the title). Still came with team wearing a facemask. Sent to the hospital to get IV when arrived and sent back to Japan thereafter.

82. After practice, decided to take a rest before going to the stadium when the division clinching game was playing. Couldn’t grab a cab to go to stadium then and went to the field without wearing any uniform. When arrived, the team’s already in celebration mode.

83. Still using the buffalo skin purse that he bought before his class tour in elementary school.

84. On the mound at the day when Final Fantasy 11 was released. Pitched devastatingly to have a shut out game.

85. KO as the starting pitcher and demoted to minor league at the day when he knew the voice actress in “Conan” show just got married.

86. Know nothing about English but went to the sukiyaki with foreign (other than Japanese) players anyway.

87. Knew he needs to protect his left wrist when he was in elementary school.

88. Does not play golf too often. Swing from right anyway to protect his left wrist.

89. No meat from two days prior to his starts.

90. Shocked to see his teammates smoking and drinking when turned pro. (Note: Igawa does not even drink soda or coke.)

91. One coach said, “Anyway this guy won’t be with us forever” behind his back. He knew it but didn’t really care about the gossip.

92. Asked about which team he roots for at the news conference when team announced his signing, he said, “Kashima Antlers (which is a J-League soccer team).

93. Spoke at the fan appreciation day, “East West South (I’m) Igawa.” (This is the direct translation; don’t ask me what that means.)

94. 99 Level in DQ8 ( a video game)

95. Choked by food decoration and sent to hospital in Japan series.

96. Answer to a reporter’s question, “See my hp (homepage)”

97. Skipped the annual team gathering dinner because of watching anime show.

98. Got an R-rated (sexual explicit) video game directly from the sound actress.

99. Camp in line to buy DQ8 (a video game) at seven in the morning. Left his contract negotiation to his agent.

100. He made his special edition of the traditional Hanshin Tigers pinstriped uniform, changed it from vertical to horizontal and wears it at practice.

Wow.... just.. wow.

That was my first reaction AG, just...

WOW.

I'm sorry about the long comment, but I thought all the site authors would appreciate this one.

It's like having one of the Hansen brothers from Slapstick. Awesome! Can't wait for Igawa robot night.

Interesting. YFs seem to be steering very clear of the money involved. Where's all the hemming and hawing?

How conveeeenient, methinks.

Just think of the fun to be had when virtual Curt Schilling and virtual Kei Igawa duke it out in "Battling Seizure Robots."

SF: Read my Vazquez post. ;)

AG, ha!

Let's say Kei gets a 3 year, $10M contract. Cheap, right? A contract YFs might brag about for a solid 4th starter, if that's what happens

BUT WAIT!!! There's MORE! (cue Ron Popiel)

That's no 3 year, 10M deal! That's 3 years and $35M for the Japanese version of a Real World house member. With a weakish ERA in Japan, to boot! And an already maxed-out marketing deal with the Japanese because of a certain teammate.

Now, how do we do this math again?

SF: It must be new math, and I'm no good at it, because it doesn't make sense to me at all. I can understand the Sox' "Dice-roll," but not this one from the Yanks. The upsides are limited for the money involved. YF raises a valid point about this being "off-book" in as much as the taxes aren't affected, which is obviously a much larger concern for NY, but I wasn't kidding when I compared him to Vazquez. I looked up the numbers. And now it appears he might be a Bill Lee-type head case? Gah.

The one thing I can think of is that if he doesn't work as a starter (which is a major concern considering what happened when he was with Hanshin), New York definitely needs a lefty reliever. Maybe that's where they are going with this.

Apologies: "head-case" is horribly presumptuous and potentially insulting. How about "iconoclast", or "free-spirit?"

YF raises a valid point about this being "off-book" in as much as the taxes aren't affected, which is obviously a much larger concern for NY

I know you and YF weren't the main naysayers about this avenue of discussion (unlike many other YF commenters at this site), so I don't direct this at either of you. But this is exacly why the DM posting bid (and now the KI bid) are different than a straight free agent signing. I wonder, now that the Yankees have dropped a wad for the rights to negotiate with a player (off the books!) what those YFs will say?

Speaking of lefty relievers, ESPN is reporting the Sox are after another Japanese League player, this time a Fighter for Nippon Ham.

"Hideki Okajima is in serious discussions with the Red Sox about a two-year deal, ESPN The Magazine's Buster Olney reports. The 30-year-old left-handed reliever, who was 2-2 with a 2.14 ERA and four saves last season for the Nippon Ham Fighters, is a free agent."

Here's some more math, offered without comment:

Sox bid on DM: $51.1M.
Next highest bidder, reportedly: $39M.
Percentage of "overbid": 31%

Yanks bid on KI: $26M
Next highest bidder, reportedly: $19M
Percentage of "overbid": 37%

I don't think I was a naysayer about the Sox bid either (although your omission of my name makes me think possibly I said otherwise). My only criticism was that I thought the Sox misjudged the market. What this number tells me is that the Yanks actually did a poor job of evaluating the DM bidding market. They're willing to pay $25 million on a pitcher most people see as a #4 and only $30 million on a potential superstar. I don't get it. The Yanks messed up on the DM bid.

Post high, sign low.

Though 3yr/ $35 is much lower than 5yr / $125

I don't recall your position, Nick, either way. But I definitely don't remember you being a naysayer of the "math". So you too should be on the list with YF and Gerb!

The yanks did miss the boat on the DM bid. I think they too misjudged the market and it hurt them more then the Red Sox misjudges.

Where do you come up with 5/125, Seth? Do you have a scoop on a DM signing that nobody else does?

Looks like SF is just itchin' to dish out a posting fee ass whipping to some YFs who made issue of Boston's 51.1 mil. bid.

Sorry SF, whatever the Yanks pay on Igawa's contract will be lumped together with that posting fee and divided by the number of years to get the amount that they will be paying him per year, just as it will be with DMat. And this is the way it will be looked at by damn near every baseball pundit, except for a few, like yourself, who don't want to acknowledge that the posting fee is part of the cost of having them pitch for your team.

I don't like this move right now. Igawa might turn out OK but 25 mil.? When I heard that somebody posted 25 mil. for Igawa, I was hoping it was the Mets.

And SF, you talk about Yank fans spinning, your already tossing out comments that will soon have you declaring the Sox got a better deal than the Yankees. That percentage of overpayment figures you posted is weak, real weak.

And then that "maxed out marketing deal" comment. Oh, here's another reason SF will point out as to why the Sox deal with DMat is better. Let me tell ya, all that marketing talk is a bunch of speculative horse shit. Will they sell anymore tickets at Fenway? No. It's always sold out. Will the Sox show games in Japan? Well, if they do that's part of revenue which is shared by all the clubs. If somebody can tell me about the great windfalls the Yanks have enjoyed because of Matsui being on the team, I'd like to hear about them.

I have no idea who might turn out to be the better value between the two pitchers, so to try to argue about it is a waste of time. How about at the AllStar break, or better yet, after the 2007 World Series.

Meanwhile, instead of wanting to be a vindictive dork because now the Yankees have a posting fee aquired, soon to be overpayed, Japanese darling of their own, why not show some character and just let the situation play itself out, until you know for a fact you've got something to hang your hat on.

"why not show some character and just let the situation play itself out, until you know for a fact you've got something to hang your hat on" This is exactly what all YFs have been doing in regards to Matsuzaka, WE. Good point.

Quo, My main point in this DMat discussion has been that the posting fee should be included in the equation. And I'm not alone in that viewpoint.

Will DMat be worth around 25 mil. a year? I doubt it, but don't know. Anything's possible.

WE, well put regarding "possible." I have a hard time seeing that it is money well-spent, except for the fact it is something really fun to talk about in lieu of actual baseball games. We'll see how it works out when we play ball, to be certain.

What a curious path the posting process has taken regarding a new surrogate farm system.

How's it goin' AG?

Say, I was wondering about your comment about Igawa referring to what happened when he was with Hanshin and equating that with his ability to start.

I thought his numbers with Hanshin looked pretty decent. What am I missing?

Hey, WE.

During 2005, Igawa's performance was in significant decline and he turned a brief stint in the minors. Maybe nothing more than a rehab-type venture, but there was no injury involved of which I am aware.

AG, I see. Well, who knows how this will turn out. I can't imagine dropping that much $$ on a guy your thinking of as a reliever, although I did read somewhere that that's what Igawa could end up doing. I can't wait to hear Cashman's take on this deal, and what he's thinking.

WE: I was just speculating about reliever conversion; I had not read anything about that. It seems to make sense (outside of the dollars involved) considering the dearth of quality lefty relievers on the market.

Prediction Time: Well, well... it seems like this will be a juicy topic for conversation: just wondering what everyone thought the Yanks' midseason rotation would look like after Igawa's addition and what call-ups/trades might take place if Pavano turns out to be...well...reliable. Throw me an earfull.

zrsahai: Interesting question. Tough to say how it will wash out regarding the rotation or the pen. There's a lot going on prior to any other additions yet to made. Reports say that Proctor is being prepped as a starter. Is Rasner signed? TJ Beam has been resurgent. The Sheffield trade brings three more young arms. Farns/Myers are locked in. I like Villone (is he locked?) and Bruney. Rasner showed promise. Don't know about Chris Britton. And then there's the big IF about Hughes.

It does seem as if SF is spoiling for a fight tonight!

I was one of the YFs who thought that the posting fee should be included in the final salary calculation, so yes, the Yanks are already $26m in the hole. How much will they pay this guy a year? God knows, but if it's a four year deal then he's already costing them $6.25m. So we're looking at most likely $10m+ a year. Oh dear. Is this George trying to buy his own overly-expensive Japanese pitcher? Possibly.

To be positive, a market where Adam Eaton and his crappy record are worth $8m per may also be a market where a solid Japanese pitcher is worth $11m ish. But, like AG, I fear another Vazquez fiasco. Ho hum.

...sf, why don't you call out the naysayers by name...who exactly are you talking about?...there aren't many of us left that you haven't already declared "not-guilty" in your earlier post...my recollection was that most yf's were simply stunned about the amount of bid money for a guy who never threw a major league pitch and spent the rest of the week trying to understand the economics of the bid and resultant contract scenarios...but i felt, and my comments bore that out, that this was a great coup for the sox, despite the risk of the unknown...so, please add me to the "nice" list...

...as for igawa, i'm disappointed about the yankees decision to bid so high on any player...i was actually relieved that they didn't win the dm bid...you almost seem disappointed that yf's haven't climbed all over themselves to defend the yankees bid to give you some evidence of yf hypocrisy...i wouldn't hold my breath on that one if i were you...your "percent of overbid" is weak and makes you appear hypocritical...

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