The Yankees have cut nine players this spring, effectively sending them to minor league camp: pitchers Andrew Brackman, D.J. Mitchell, Christian Garcia, Kevin Whelan, Wilkins Aria, Kei Igawa, Wilkin De La Rosa, Jeremy Bleich and catchers Daniel Gil and Kyle Higashioka.
The majority of those cuts make sense in my head; the minor league camp needed more players and most of the aforementioned Yankees needed more playing time and had zero chance of making the club anyway. However, the fact that the Yankees were so quick to cut left-hander Kei Igawa befuddles me. Especially after this quote in the New York Times:
Despite having two seasons left on a five-year, $20 million contract, and despite retiring all five hitters in his spring debut Friday, Igawa is mostly out of sight and pretty much out of mind…
“That’s as it should be,” General Manager Brian Cashman said of Igawa’s diminished status. “He’s got to try to reinvent himself. He hasn’t lived up to what our scouting assessments were. Maybe that’s not his fault.” (source)
Normally I don’t criticize Brian Cashman, but I can’t say I am a fan of the way this situation was handled. How can a player reinvent himself without being given a proper chance? I know he has not performed well so far this spring, but at least let the guy work on his stuff against experienced batters. It might increase his confidence and help improve his pitches. Obviously the Yankees were never serious about giving him a chance this year.
Two things need to be done here to properly rectify the situation. Cashman needs to admit his mistake, and the Yankees need to cut ties with Igawa. The lefty has said many times before that it his is dream to pitch in the majors. As a 30 year-old in Triple-A, that chance gets smaller and smaller each season. Obviously that chance won’t come with the Yankees and we know he won’t get more than a minor league deal with another team, so why force him to toil in the minors when more promising pitchers could benefit from his Triple-A rotation spot.
Cashman needs to truly admit that the scouts messed up and he made a poor decision. The right thing to do is release Igawa. Yes, they will be on the hook for the remainder of his salary, but that is the price you pay for not doing a good scouting job. That said, I’d still take Igawa over Carl Pavano any day.