The Yanks have won the right to negotiate with Kei Igawa, a lefty from Japan. He was twice the league strikeout champ (’02 and ’04) and throws a “sneaky” 88-92mph fastball, an above-average change, and some breaking stuff. The 26 million dollar posting fee seems a bit high. Especially when you consider that Cashman would barely go over 30 for Matsuzaka (and when Cashman found out his bid for Matsuzaka lost, he said he was relieved).
Reportedly, Igawa will sign a 4 year deal for around 16 million, which is a bargain in this market. Remember, the 26 million dollar posting fee does not count towards the luxury tax. So Igawa will in the end most likely cost the Yankees less than it would to sign Lilly, Suppan, Meche, etc. This is one case of the Yankees going for the unknown commodity over the known. This makes sense to me- what is “known” about the current free agent pitchers is that they’re not very good.
At the same time, this could potentially be a case of the Yankees overspending to make a splash in the Japanese market, in an attempt to keep up with the Red Sox. However, that wouldn’t seem to comply with Cashman’s new business model. At any rate, our current rotation projects like this:
3- Randy Johnson
Clearly, the Yankees did not want to start the season relying on both Pavano AND Proctor as starters. Of course, the Yanks could still get involved in Meche/Lilly/Pettite negotiations, as you can never have too many starters.
At the end of the day, I have to trust the Yankee scouts. Igawa held an MLB All-Star team to 2 runs over 6 innings (though he did walk 6). That’s not bad and was following a 6 week layoff. His website calls him Iron Nerves and it’s been said that he’s a tough competitor which should help in the Bronx. And you know what else? He’s not Jeff Suppan. I watched him pitch in the AL East for Boston. I know he sucks.