Tag Archives: Igawa

Yanks targeting Japanese pitching star

Yeah, I know. You read the headline and are thinking about Irabu and Igawa and those memories just made you upchuck.

But according to the NY Post, the Yanks are serious about putting in a high bidding fee for 24-year-old Mashiro Tanaka of Japan. Tanaka’s team, the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles, won the Pacific League championship, and Tanaka went 22-0, 1.23. Yes, those numbers are real. 22-0, 1.23. Tanaka turns 25 on 11/1.

The Yanks lost Pettitte to retirement, will lose Hughes to free agency, and don’t know what will happen with Kuroda. Pineda didn’t pitch in 2012, only 40 some innings in 2013 after shoulder issues. (In a recent column, I omitted Manny Banuelos. Why? Because he most likely won’t make the MLB team in the spring of 2013 after pitched only 24 some innings in 2012 and not pitching at all this year due to TJ surgery in 2012. Reports are that he is throwing and throwing well right now, and he turns 24 next March, but after a long period of inactivity, he probably needs to go back to AAA, where he’s only pitched 58.1 innings so far (2-4, 4.32). )

As for Tanaka, some think he’s better than Yu Darvish, and could be the best pitcher ever to come from Japan. Yankees fans have reason to be leery because Irabu was considered the “Nolan Ryan of Japan” and Igawa was a bust. Even Dice-K, who I hoped the Yanks would get, was only good for two years in Boston (33-15 in 2007-2008, 17-22 since then).

The Yanks could use pitching help. If this guy is the real deal, great. Go get him. The Yanks have been scouting the guy for a while, and I don’t believe it is with the same scouts who scouted Igawa (Just kidding. I sure as hell HOPE not!).

But if Yankees fans are wary about spending big bucks on another free agent pitcher from Japan, could you blame them?

The Tigers shut out the A’s in Game 5 and advance to play Boston in the ALCS. So the NLCS is Dodgers/Cards, the ALCS Tigers/Red Sox. All four of the teams four of the ORIGINAL sixteen teams (taking into account the Dodgers move from Brooklyn).

Nice piece by Phil Mushnick in the Post about Dick Stockton commenting on Marlon Byrd moving from one team to another over the past few years but not once commenting on his 50-game suspension. Why not, Dick?

I’m still working on looking at 2014, Part 3 (the infield/C/DH). Part 4 will be the outfield. Both parts should be coming soon, probably over the weekend.

Yanks rotation could be decided on experience, options

The NY Post is reporting that Freddy Garcia is all but in the rotation, along with Phil Hughes, thus leaving Ivan Nova and Michael Pineda fighting for the last spot… for now (Pettitte on the horizon).

For today, it looks as if Ivan Nova will pitch in the minor league game while in S.T. Game #27 tonight, it’ll be Garcia.

This report from the Post goes against what the general consensus has been in the past couple weeks—that Garcia would be the long man, and that Pineda would be in the rotation.

It appears that experience, as well as who has options, has won the day along with perfomance.

Hughes, Nova and Pineda have options and can be sent down. CC (32 this summer), Pettitte (40 this summer), Kuroda (37) and Garcia (35) have the experience and the track record. Hughes has more MLB time than Nova and Pineda do.

So, if we go by that reasoning, what can we expect? Well, maybe something like this: Pineda gets sent down. Cashman will take the heat for that, being that he traded Montero for Pineda, and Pineda wouldn’t be producing from the get-go. There is concern that Pineda’s arm strength isn’t where it should be, that instead of hitting 96-97, he’s in the low 90’s. Sending him down would let Pineda hopefully work it back up…or for the Yanks to see IF he can work it back up. Pineda has options, and it appears as if the Yanks will have to use them. It’s tough to send someone down that was on the All-Star team last year and had a 3.74 ERA but… let’s consider someone ELSE…

… because this scenario would leave Nova to be the #5 starter… for NOW. Once Pettitte is ready in early May, Nova would then drop down to be the long-man out of the bullpen, as well as a spot starter. Should something happen to one of the other starters (and two of the five would be 35 or over, three of the five when Pettitte returns), either Nova would be ready to step back into the rotation for a spot start (and a AAA kid like Warren could be temporarily brought up to fill the long man role) or Pineda could be brought back up to start. Either way, Nova would be bounced from #5 starter to long-man/spot starter. I don’t see him going down…but he DOES have options and COULD go down. Now, if you think it’s hard to send down an 2011 All-Star in Pineda (9-10, 3.74), then how hard do you think it’ll be to drop Nova from the rotation into a long-man role or even send him to the minors after he went 16-4, 3.70 last year?

So, if I’m following the Post story correctly, Opening Day should see CC, Kuroda, Hughes, Garcia and Nova in the rotation, with Wade (who has had an awful spring… more on that in a bit) in the bullpen as a long-man. Right now it looks as if Clay Rapada could make the team as a second lefty in the bullpen along with Logan. So the BP would have Wade, Logan, Rapada, Robertson, Soriano, Mo… and a seventh member. I don’t know who that seventh member could be. If not Pineda, it wouldn’t be surprising to me to see maybe Adam Warren make it to be a mopup guy for a bit, until Pettitte is ready.

THEN, when Pettitte is ready in early May, he joins the rotation. Now you have CC, Kuroda, Hughes, Pettitte and Garcia, with Nova dropping down into long man/middle relief and maybe Warren (if he makes the team) then going back to AAA—or, maybe doing something with Wade. This is just my reading of the tea leaves provided by the NY Post.

A lot depends on what the Yanks will be doing with Pineda.

But it appears as if experience will win out…as well as who has options. It’ll be an interesting week of news regarding the rotation. Stay tuned.

In other Yankees related news: Bartolo Colon had a good debut for the A’s today over in Japan. 8 IP, 1 R, and the win. The A’s and Mariners are opening the season with a couple of games in Japan, then will come back to the U.S., resume S.T. for a week to get readjusted to the time change/jet lag, then pick up the regular season again. But a good game for Colon. Cespedes hit his 1st MLB HR today, and Montero, I believe, has started out 1 for 8.

Kei Igawa has gone back to Japan, signing a two-year deal with the Orix Buffaloes.

Neither Austin Romine and Russell Branyan have played an inning in S.T. due to back problems. Branyan could be released. Romine won’t be able to start the season for Empire State.

Update: I mentioned Warren above, could have said Kontos… but you know what I mean. I can’t see Pineda going to the bullpen, but think they rather would keep him stretched out as a starter—thus AAA or extended spring training. What they do with Nova… anyway, one thing I DID NOT mention above is the trickle down effect. You have the good rotation of youngsters at AAA—how does THAT get affected if Pineda or Nova is sent there? What do you do then? Bump one of THOSE guys (Warren, Phelps, Betances, Mitchell, Banuelos) down to AA? There is a lot to think about here.

BTW, my friends over at the BBD blog have a post up reporting that Banuelos has now added a fourth pitch— a cutter. Let’s hope he, at age 21, gains command. He’s coming along…

The minors.

AAA: SWB wins 5-4 in 12. Betances started. 3 IP. The good news? Just one hit. The bad news? 2 R on NINE walks. Yes, NINE. 4 K. Laird, 3 for 6, double, 2 RBI. Lamb, 4 H.

If you haven’t read, SWB will be renovating their park next year and will be spending 2012 elsewhere, maybe sharing a stadium. More to come on where they’ll be playing. Allentown? Rochester?

AA: Trenton 9-1 loss. Igawa (in what will be one of his last appearances as a Yankee farmhand or Yankee ANYTHING [well, maybe a translator position may open up]) 1 2/3, 2 R in relief. ERA 4.39.

High A: Tampa ppd.

Low A: Charleston swept, 5-2 and 5-0.

Staten Island, Mason “Classical Gas” Williams 2 hits, .353.  3B  Tyler Austin at .323.

The minors tonight

AAA: Nova placed on the 7-day DL. Yanks sign LHP Royce Ring, reliever, to a minor league deal (had 5 games with the Yanks last year, didn’t fare well). They’ll try anybody in that lefty reliever role. They called up Garrison despite his poor record at AA. Signed Halsey (poor at AA), Romero, now Ring. It goes to show how far off the charts Igawa is, even as a reliever. They can’t wait to get rid of him. SWB won 6-1 tonight, D.J. Mitchell 7 IP, 1 R, 4 h, 2 walks and 9 K. 7-7, 3.12. A scoreless inning for Romero. Russo 3 h, Montero 3 rbi. Solo HR Mike Lamb. Jorge Vazquez 2 rbi.

AA: A wild and wooly one as Trenton gets 3 in the bottom of the 9th to win 13-12. Brad Halsey (see AAA above) has been a disaster since the Yanks signed him to a minor league deal. 7 R, 5 ER in 2 2/3 IP, ERA 8.00. Romine 3 H, HR, 2 RBI. Lyerly 2 h, HR, 2 rbi. Zoilo Almonte 3 h, 2 rbi.

High A: 10-3 Tampa win. Eric Chavez had 4 hits in his rehab stint. Jose Quintana 1 R in 6 ip. 7-0, 1.50. Ronnier Mustellier 2 HR.

Low A: Charleston 6-5 winners. 3 h, HR, 2 rbi, Anderson Feliz. Ramon Flores, 2 h, triple, 3 rbi.

Cito Culver, 3 h at Staten Island (SS of the future?)


The minors today.

AAA: SWB won 9-7. 2 H, 2 RBI Jordan Parraz. 2 h, double, 3 rbi Jesus Montero. Terry Tiffee 2 h, 2 rbi. Igawa 3 R in 6 ip.

AA: Trenton lost 10-5. Romine 3 h, .306. Sublett 4 H, HR, 3 RBI. Off night for Betances. He got a no-decision, 5 R, 4 er in 5 IP. 8 h, 3 walks, 6 k. ERA 2.71. Brad Halsey (1-1, 5.79) took the loss. Both runs he gave up in his 1 IP were unearned, but the chance taken on the ex-big league lefty seems to be one that didn’t work out.

High A: Tampa lost a DH. 2-1 in the opener. 1-0 in the nightcap. In the 14 innings, Tampa managed just 6 hits.

Low A: Charleston won 10-8. Garrison Lassiter grand slam.

Last year’s first round pick, Cito Culver, is at Staten Island (NY-Penn, short-season league). .250-0-9 in 14 games so far. The SS turns 19 in late August.


The minors today.

AAA: SWB lost 11-3. Just so you know, Jorge Vazquez is on the 7-day DL. He was 0 for his last 20, 6 for his last 40 with 20K. Average down to .257, with 20 HR. Igawa 6 IP, 3 R, but it was Andrew Brackman who disappointed again. 1/3 inning, 5 R on 1 H, 3 walks. 2-6, ERA 7.71. Right now he looks like a real waste of a first-round pick.

AA: Better news here. Betances tosses 6 shutout innings and gives up just one hit. Trenton wins 6-2. 4 walks, 4 k for Betances (4-3, 2.37). Forget the Brad Halsey in the bullpen, 2nd LOOGY experiment. He gave up 2 runs and his ERA at AA is 6.48. DeAngelo Mack 3 h, HR, 2 RBI.

High A:  4-3 loss for Tampa.

Low A: Charleston won 8-1. HR Gary Sanchez (.254-6-27). Kyle Higashioka HR, 3 RBI. Kevin Mahoney 3 for 3.

Dante Bichette, Jr. has started 1 for 16 for GCL Yankees. He does have 5 walks and 4 rbi in 5 games. He, like Sanchez, is just 18.

The minors today.

Wow. I just saw Riggleman resigned as Manager of the Nationals. 37-37, 3rd place, won 10 of last 11… prospects like Strasburg (hoping he recovers) and Harper on the way, and Riggleman is not happy with how his option is progressing. Hmmm….

Update: Davey Johnson as manager of Nats? They’d have to leave him alone, but look at Davey’s track record. At 68, he won’t take any B.S. Leave him alone, let him develop youngsters (look at what he did with Mets ca. 1984-1985) and get out of his way. Then see what happens. BTW, what has Baltimore done after they forced Davey out? Answer: Nothing since 1997.

AAA: SWB won 10-5. 2 RBI Lamb, Hr, 2 RBI for Parraz. Brackman gave up 3 R in 2/3. ERA now 6.98. I’m not high on him. He lost me a long time ago.

AA: Trenton won 6-2. Banuelos 5 IP, 2 R, 3 H, 1 walk and 6 K. 3-1, 3.50. Venditte with 3 scoreless IP (3.31). Igawa (4.09) the last inning.

High A: 8-1 Tampa win. JR Murphy has been promoted to Tampa. 2 h, double, 2 RBI.  Zoilo Almonte 3 H, 2 rbi. Kelvin Castro bases-loaded double, 3 rbi. Jairo Heredia 8-1, 3.18, 1 R, 6 IP. Rob Segedin has also been promoted.

Low A: Charleston PPD