Kei Igawa

Well, baseball is finally back and the Yankees opened up against South Florida for an exhibition game.None of the numbers really matter that much, but of course it’s nice to see “The Big Three” go 5 innings and allow only 1 single and strikeout 6.

But then, sadly, Kei Igawa pitched and got rocked, giving up a grand slam to a college kid.

So of course the natural reaction is: “wow, this guy is terrible, get rid of him now, what a waste of $46 million” or “why didn’t the Yankees trade him when they had the chance?”

Well, it’s never made sense to trade Kei Igawa and it still doesn’t. The Yankees have already invested $30 million in Igawa (the signing bonus and last year’s salary). Now they have him for 4-years, $16 million. At the deadline the Padres were offering to essentially take him off the Yankees hands (and payroll). But the damage has already been done. What’s $4 million a year to the Yankees? They’ve already paid the majority of Igawa’s cost. Now they might as well hold on to him and let him pitch in Triple-A and make a spot start here and there.

Every year is essentially a $4 million gamble that Igawa can make progress enough so that someone will offer actual return in a trade for him. Maybe it never happens, but when you’ve already invested so much money, shouldn’t you wait and see? If the Yankees deal Igawa now, they’ll have paid $30 million for nothing.

Do I think Igawa was worth the money? Absolutely not. Obviously it was a big mistake and definitely came across as a “well the Red Sox got a Japanese pitcher so we’ll get one” kind of move.

But look on the bright side: Igawa has more potential than Carl Pavano and the Yankees are paying him almost $7 million less.


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