A-Okei?

First, some book-keeping: the Yankee bid for Kei Igawa was, as Cliff Corcoran reports on Bronx Banter, a very cute $26 million plus 192 dollars (Igawa’s 2006 strikeout total!), just in case some other insanely delusion team—that means you, Red Sox—decided to go with the same basic figure. Smart move? Huge error? Is this a more expensive Jaret Wright/Carl Pavano deal in the making? Have the Yankees, who appeared to be moving in a more conservative, build from within strategy, abandoned their plan? Given the market, is Igawa reasonably priced for a lefty? Is he any good? How does he compare to Matsuzaki? There are many questions. Answers are few, though here’s a bit of information that should help us at least make some informed judgments:

-Scouting reports are mixed. His out pitch is either a change or a curve (which can be flat) depending on your source. The fastball runs in the 88-92 range, and needs to be spotted to be effective. He has had trouble with the long ball—though an adjustment made in the 2006 season dramatically reduced that problem. He’s a dependable innings eater. General consensus is he’s a back of the rotation starter, though there are a few who see him as a 2. He became disenchanted with the fans of his Japan team, and asked to be moved to MLB. How this very intriguing personality will respond to the NY media maelstrom has to be a concern.

-On Bronx Banter, the estimable Corcoran suggests Igawa stacks up pretty well to Matsuzaki. He also notes Igawa is said to be looking for a 3 year deal in the $6 to $7 million range, a total package that is less that the Matsuzaka posting fee alone and probably cheaper that what a guy like Ted Lilly will command, let alone Zito or Schmidt. For the Yanks, with their luxury tax issues, it might not be a terrible financial outlay, given the market. And it just doesn’t compare to the Matsuzaka bid. SF can compare percentage of “overbid,” but the difference in bids is about $25 million. That’s a huge disparity, though it doesn’t mean the Yanks haven’t taken a crazy plunge.

So what do we think? We just don’t know. Can the guy get AL batters out with any consistency? Will a bad couple of outings as he adjusts doom this relationship? The good news: At least we’ll have something besides A-Rod to talk about next spring!

13 comments… add one

  • $26 million just to talk to the guy. Yeesh.
    He’s a lefty and, based upon his Japanese stats, is pretty good, but will it really translate? The same basic questions applicable to D-Mat are applicable to Igawa.
    I’ll say this, though… imagine the Japanese media frenzy when it’s Igawa vs. Matsuzaka, with Matsui in the lineup.

    Rob (Middletown, CT) November 29, 2006, 9:45 am
  • japan has a population of 128 million…with $77m invested in posting fees, and assuming the yanks and sox could make $1.70 profit on each sale, they would need every man, woman, and child in japan to buy the igawa and dm t-shirts just to break even…damn that’s a lot of t-shirts…

    dc November 29, 2006, 10:05 am
  • …hee hee…not good at math…how ’bout 60 cents per shirt…need more caffiene..

    dc November 29, 2006, 10:08 am
  • The Yankees have a pretty good Japanese scout in Matsui. We can only speculate about what it’s like to face the two pitchers, even if they both come here and pitch. Matsui knows.
    In retrospect, you wonder if the Sox always intended to renegotiate the $51111111 with Seibu — and if that will work. And if it does, will that set a precedent?
    The Yankees get to deduct the cost of the new stadium from … what? The luxury tax calculations? Their payments to MLB? Will they pay luxury tax the next while they pay down the stadium? If they don’t, it doesn’t really matter to them if there’s a difference between negotiation fee and payroll in figuring the tax. I haven’t seen a clear story on any of that, but the Times did say they get to deduct the stadium cost from … something.

    john November 29, 2006, 10:30 am
  • This was in the article posted earlier:
    The Sox have until midnight on Dec. 14 to close a deal with Matsuzaka, though it would probably have to be consummated at least a day earlier because he’d need to pass a physical. Worth noting: Matsuzaka would not become an unrestricted free agent for two full seasons should he elect to go that route.
    Lucchino also met with Seibu Lions officials, saying the teams discussed a possible “working relationship” in the future. But Major League Baseball moved quickly to quash speculation that Lucchino was exploring ways the Sox might recoup some of their $51.1 million posting fee from Seibu.
    “There are no side deals in the situation,” Jimmie Lee Solomon, executive vice president of baseball operations in the commissioner’s office, told the Associated Press. “Everybody’s been assured that’s not allowed, and everybody’s been made aware of the rules.”

    Lar November 29, 2006, 10:51 am
  • I may be mistaken, but I think they get to deduct stadium costs from their revenue, and thus will have to give up much much less in revenue sharing.

    yankeemonkey November 29, 2006, 12:10 pm
  • john, it wouldn’t be a precedent. See: Suzuki, Ichiro. Or Blue Wave, Orix. Or Mariners, Seattle.

    Quo November 29, 2006, 12:15 pm
  • If the Sox make a deal with Seibu to allow Seibu players to participate in Sox’ spring training/extended spring training, does this revenue count as a “side deal”? I wouldn’t think this would be shady; teams creating a “working relationship” would be doing this to benefit the player pool for both the Sox and MLB, one of the reasons cited in the explanation of the lavish posting fee. This is part of the value of the DM posting fee, right, the fringe benefit of breaking into a new market?
    So does anyone know the rules on this? Can the Sox make, say, a 4 year, $8M deal with Seibu for an “exchange” program, to help promote Seibu in the US, to help improve Seibu players and therefore positively impact possible posting fees in the future (if the system stays intact)? Is this separate from any licensing money that would need to be shared with the rest of MLB?

    SF November 29, 2006, 12:38 pm
  • Maybe I’m wrong, but does it seem odd to anyone else that the Yankees thought a potential ace in Matsuzaka was worth $30M and a potential back-end starter in Igawa was worth $25M. Either they horribly misread the market with Matsuzaka (since even if the Sox bid zero, the Yanks still would have been outbid by $8 million), or they’ve panicked because they felt they were treading water this off-season, or both.
    Maybe I’m just loving the thought of the Yankees in a panic a little too much, but how else to explain that they blew everyone else out of the water on a pitcher with a far worse skill set than the pitcher for whom the Red Sox did likewise?
    Another option: the Yankees misread the market for Matsuzaka, recalibrated their calculations too far to the other extreme and overbid for Igawa. Perhaps that’s more realistic, but it’s not nearly as fun ;-).

    Paul SF November 29, 2006, 1:57 pm
  • I don’t know about panic, but it’s unreasonable to correlate their first bid with the latter like that, and the fact is, the market moved quite a bit, at least partially because of the DM bid. As for “far worse”, we’ll have to see..

    Lar November 29, 2006, 2:46 pm
  • MLB controls international merchandising, and all revenues are split between the 30 teams.
    The Sox will commit $100 million to get this guy and Lucchino will be the sleaze bag that he is and try to recoup that somehow through some asinine Lucchino moves. But they will still commit more money the Yanks will on Igawa, and that will be by a huge margin.

    tpxDMD November 29, 2006, 10:26 pm
  • …money’s no object here fellas…john henry [who by the way looks uncannily like "dennis the menace's" dad] has very deep pockets…the sox are a mere tinker toy to this financial giant…and considering that the $51m doesn’t count against payroll–therefore no luxury tax implications, and the lucrative opportunities that the sox will have exclusive rights to [no sharing with other teams], the money is a non-issue…time to focus on the details of the contract…i just read somewhere that the state of Mass. is selling the rights to the air above the Mass Pike…the sox have plans to build a deck out over the highway…the new “pike’s peak” seats are projected to go for $400 each starting in 2008…the first project for 2007 however is the new “pesky pole” seats, which will go for $500 each…
    …the yanks on the other hand, may have misread the market initially…wouldn’t be the first mistake they made…the relative quiet from the yankee camp this offseason makes the $26M igawa bid that much more dramatic, but still not a big deal…

    dc November 30, 2006, 9:03 am
  • Revenue sharing — I forgot there was both revenue sharing and a luxury tax. So I think you’re right, YM.

    john December 1, 2006, 9:48 am

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