Friday, October 21, 2011

Free Agent Watch: Kei Igawa

Okay, "free agent watch" is really misleading. Yes, technically he will be a free agent, but it is extremely doubtful he will be picked up by a major league team. The Yankees signed him to a 5 year $20 million dollar deal, 5 years ago. The contract has finally mercifully ended. Igawa appeared in just 16 games, starting 13 for the big league club, all in 2007-2008. He was rather unimpressive, putting up a WAR of -1.This is of course, a historically bad WASP of 60,000 for his Yankee career. In that limited big league career, he had a pretty unimpressive PE of 4.738. In just 4 innings in 2008 (his last appearance in the big leagues), he had a BABIP of .542 and a FIP of 3.13 but was sent down anyway (his ERA was 13.50), never to return again. The Yankees may have given up on Igawa's major league career a little early. Igawa stuck through the Yankees minor league system through 2011, and had some success, as he had a PE of .6, mostly as a starter. That certainly isn't overwhelming, but it is solid and one wonders why the Yankees were paying him all that money (and with the Starting Pitching problems they had in 2011) and weren't giving him a chance every year. He did give up a HR every 9 innings, and that would be concerning at the very hitter friendly Yankee stadium. In 2006, his last year in Japan, he had an ERA of 2.97, 1.10 WHIP, and 194 Strikeouts. According to the Japanese Metric, he should have had a 3.58 ERA, 1.186 WHIP, and a 164 strikeouts a year. That obviously didn't work out, however, I am interested in his 2004 and 2005 stats. Both of those seasons his ERA was over 3.70 and in 2005 his WHIP was 1.5. This would suggest (once those 2 seasons were run through the Japanese metric) that he would not be a very good starting pitcher in the Majors. It is pretty apparent that the Yankees paid him for one year of success in Japanball, and made a pretty irrational choice with their money.

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