Yankees Rumors: Cashman Won’t Comment on Interest in Hisashi Iwakuma

Today is kinda like opening day of the postseason. 142 players declared their free agency today including Derek Jeter, Cliff Lee, and Carl Crawford.

But for right now the Yankees are still waiting to talk with Jeet and cannot talk with other team’s free agents for five days. One player they need to make a decision on now is Hisashi Iwakuma.

Iwakuma is a 29-year-old Japanese right hander who was posted by the Tohoku Rakuten yesterday. Teams now have until Friday to put a bid on him. The highest bidder has exclusive negotiating rights to him this offseason.

The NY Post contacted Yankees general manager Brian Cashman to gauge their interest in the pitcher, but he responded with a no comment.

The Yankees may make a bid on the pitcher, but it is unlikely to be a significant one. Most of their money is earmarked for Jeter, Mariano Rivera, Lee, and possibly even other big ticket free agents. To put a significant bid in on Iwakuma doesn’t seem like it fits right now.

Part of the reason may have to be with how badly they were burned on Igawa whom the Yankees placed a $26 million bid on before signing him to an addition $20 million contract. They aren’t likely done with Japanese pitchers forever because they’ve been scouting Yu Darvish for a number of years now, but it is safe to say they are going to be a lot more careful in the future.

After all, Japanese pitchers don’t exactly have the best track record in America. Hideo Nomo is probably the most successful, but even he struggled after the league adjusted to him. The Yankees were also burned by Hideki Irabu who was highly touted as the Nolan Ryan of Japan before being a complete bust here in America.

Here are Iwakuma’s stats:

Year Tm W L ERA G GS IP WHIP H/9 HR/9 BB/9 SO/9
2007 Tohoku Rakuten 5 5 3.40 16 16 90.0 1.311 9.5 0.6 2.3 8.4
2008 Tohoku Rakuten 21 4 1.87 28 28 201.2 0.977 7.2 0.1 1.6 7.1
2009 Tohoku Rakuten 13 6 3.25 24 24 169.0 1.314 9.5 0.8 2.3 6.4
3 Seasons 39 15 2.68 68 68 460.2 1.166 8.5 0.5 2.0 7.1
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 11/2/2010.
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3 Responses to Yankees Rumors: Cashman Won’t Comment on Interest in Hisashi Iwakuma

  1. Kevin Ocala, Fl says:

    His numbers are hardly over-whelming. Japanese baseball is probably what would be termed "4A" ball in the states. Maybe he'd be a useful middle relief pitcher. I qualify this with the fact that I have not read anything by anyone that has actually seen him pitch. Another way of putting it, I suppose is that I'm blowing smoke based on the numbers….

  2. I don't trust Japanese pitchers almost at all. Kei Igawa had 6 full seasons in Japan. He had an ERA under 3.00 4 times. He never had an ERA under 2.00 like Iwakuma did, but two seasons over 3.00 isn't inspiring.

  3. Mike B. says:

    The only teally good ballplayers from Japan are Ichiro & Matsui