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Here’s an interesting item on Kei Igawa from the NY Times‘ Joe LaPointe:

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. He is rarely mentioned in conversations about the fifth slot in the starting rotation, a competition that involves as many as five candidates.

“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.”

While Igawa deserves some blame for his current situation, perhaps for not adapting to American baseball in a way that would increase his likelihood of success here, I think it’s somewhat cowardly for Brian Cashman to essentially fault Igawa for his ineffectual state. His statement, that Igawa “hasn’t lived up to what our scouting assessments were,” sounds like unfair criticism. There seems to be a large gap between what Igawa actually is, and what Cashman’s glowing scouting reports pegged him to be. While I do think Cashman has been a strong GM for the Yankees, the Igawa signing was clearly a mistake on his part – probably the biggest of his career – and he should acknowledge that (an ambiguous remark like, “Maybe that’s not his fault,” is not an admission). Under Cashman’s watch, the scouting profiles the team had on Igawa were either riddled with inaccuracies or just ignorant of his Major League potential.

To be fair to Kei Igawa, that’s not his fault. He is what he is. Instead, that’s on Brian Cashman.

Photo by the Boston Globe

38 Responses to “Cashman won’t own up to the Igawa mistake”

  1. Cashman had 1 really good year and that was last year, bringing in the 3 best Free agents and being smart enough to let GIambi & Abreu leave.
    Overall his mistakes are much more glaring then his smart moves with the biggest payroll and most assetts of any Gm in Baseball.
    Not so sure that he did as good a job this year either, letting Matsui go and setting up a sitautuion with Granderson and Gardner when Gardeners strength is probably as a CF lead-off prospect and Jeter can bat 2nd.
    Gave away two very good still young left-handed arms, something most GM’s won’t do,except under durees..
    Giving away Bruney who was very valuable for 2 years and throws 96 off an an injury plaqued season (They,he & Girardi ruined Wang with impatience also) at a point where his value was at it’s lowest and for a player they will most probably have to return to the Dodgers for nothing was another poorly thought out move.
    Personally, Cashman is likable and makes himself available so press and fans like him and make excuses for him but in perspective considering his assets, he’s mediocre at best as a GM.
    Can’t blame George anymore either.
    Igawa? How about Pavano and a myriad of others he brought in to pitch who flopped.
    Has he really greatly improved this years team?
    Look at the young & minor league players we’ve given away in the past 2 seasons and what we have in return, Did he get great value for them, really?  (Quote)

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    gfd Reply:

    Jeter’s GIDP is higher when he bats 2nd remember? Damon was the lead off, until they switched, and cut down on the force out by Jeter!!  (Quote)

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  2. Cashman won’t own up to the Igawa mistake

    “He hasn’t lived up to what our scouting assessments were. Maybe that’s not his fault.”

    Is that not essentially admitting they made a mistake with him?? I’m not following….  (Quote)

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    gfd Reply:

    The scout that referred him to Cashman, no longer is scouting for the Yankees either!  (Quote)

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    AndrewYF Reply:

    How utterly cowardly for Cashman to shift the blame to the scout. A GM should know which of his scouts is bad and ignore them. Clearly Cashman is showing his lack of any true scouting and baseball sense by relying on other scouts to do the work for him. Yet another ‘embarrassing the stripes’ moment for Cashman, who already has quite a cache (pun intended) built up. How long will non-Koolaid drinking Yankee fans stand for this? Or, perhaps more importantly, how long will ownership stand for this? The clock is certainly clicking for Cashman.

    /Steve Lombardi’d  (Quote)

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    bornwithpinstripes Reply:

    do you think he was fired cause of igawa…if so he should be fired cause of igawa.. cashman paid 20mil to talk to him …how smart was that..mind boggling how any body would think of paying that ..yes red sox also.. i would only pay to have babe ruth back …  (Quote)

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    Chris H. Reply:

    As I said in the post, “(an ambiguous remark like, ‘Maybe that’s not his fault,’ is not an admission).”  (Quote)

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    deadrody Reply:

    Sorry, but you are way off base here. Beyond all of this, is Brian Cashman supposed to stand up, publicly take owndership of the move and apologize for it or something ? All for, what ? To satisfy the blogosphere or some such nonsense ?!?!?

    What a crock. The man stated the problem very succinctly – Kei Igawa has not lived up to our scouting reports. There are two possible problems there – Igawa, and the scouting reports, or – here’s a thought – a little of both. And, I would point out, its a little too convenient that we seem to ignore that hindsight is 20/20.  (Quote)

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    Chris H. Reply:

    He’s not supposed to do anything like that. I find it hilarious that people scoff at this notion of taking blame for the Igawa deal, as if Cashman needs to scream, “I was wrong,” at the top of his lungs. No, that’s not what he has to do. You’re merely characterizing an admission that way to make such an action seem absurd. In reality, all he has to do is NOT put blame on Igawa and say that the scouting reports were probably a bit off or something to that affect. He doesn’t have to stand up and say, “I apologize,” or anything like that, obviously.

    Cashman put the onus on Igawa. He said, “He has to reinvent himself. He hasn’t lived up to our scouting reports.” People are so quick to defend Cashman for the biggest mistake he’s ever made as GM, that they’re willing to parse his comments to extract ambiguous admissions of guilt that are simply not there. How can Igawa “live up” to the team’s scouting reports? Those scouting reports apparently projected him to be a $50M talent. The fact that he ends that statement with, “Maybe that’s not his fault,” seems to indicate that prior to that sentence, he was painting it as if it were Igawa’s fault and, in the end, he chose to hedge a bit.  (Quote)

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    misterd Reply:

    May I also add that maybe he should wait until Igawa’s term with the Yankees is officially over before admitting to it being a huge mistake? There is always a chance (however small) that something can be salvaged here, and having Cash publicly fess up “Whew, did we ever blow it on Kei! Man, does he stink or what? My bad!” probably won’t help Igawa work things out.  (Quote)

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  3. What great minor leaguers have been given away in the past two years? I like Ian Kennedy but he had no spot on this team. Phil Coke and Mike Dunn types are a dime-a-dozen. Melky is also easily replaceable (hello, Mr. Winn). Losing Jackson and Vizcaino hurts, but Jackson’s star has dimmed with each passing season and Viz has yet to pitch in a full season league. Getting a CF w/30 HR potential (and one who’s done it before) along with a guy who does nothing but put up 200 inning seasons like they’re going out of style in trades this offseason were great moves. Letting Matsui–who’s knees could explode any day now–walk was also the smart move (a year early > a year late) and waiting out Damon’s game was another good move.  (Quote)

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    bornwithpinstripes Reply:

    agree, except for Ajax,,we needed to give him a real shot..i think he will be a good Mler  (Quote)

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  4. I don’t understand how you could interpret Cashman’s comments as cowardly. Where does he say its Igawa’s fault? In the passage you quoted, he actually says the opposite that maybe its not which I would intrepret as he’s not as good as their scouting led them to believe but that they don’t have any major problems with his attitute or effort. You also have to consider the context of his remarks which was in response to a question about why Igawa isn’t in the mix for the 5th starter position. He would and should need to show a lot more to be given that type of opportunity. However unlikely it is that Igawa will contribute to the major league club, he’s still a part of the organization for the near future and the goal for him seems to be to convert him to a lefty specialist so that they may get some value from him. Cashman isn’t going to publicly completely write Igawa off and take blame for him while he’s still a Yankee and he shouldn’t.  (Quote)

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    Guest Reply:

    yeah this article is confusing… the quoted passage seems to suggest the exact opposite of the article title  (Quote)

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    Chris H. Reply:

    Saying that Igawa hasn’t live up to the Yankees’ scouting reports is essentially saying that it is Igawa’s fault that he hasn’t lived up to those reports. From what we’ve heard, the Yankees just had bad scouting evals at the time. I guess I wonder, how is that Igawa’s fault if that’s the case? Cashman hedged a bit and put a little blame on the scouting reports by saying, “Maybe that’s not his fault,” but that’s hardly an admission or a sign of culpability.

    Also, in the same article I cited, Cashman went on to call the Igawa signing “a miss.” Isn’t that writing him off completely?  (Quote)

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    bg90027 Reply:

    No its not essentially saying its Igawa’s fault. At worst, its dodging the question entirely. At best, its saying maybe its our fault and not Igawa’s. I think Cashman has admitted that the signing was a mistake in the past several years. Didn’t they fire pags and revamp their Japanese scouting after the signing? Wouldn’t you take that as at least a tacit admission that their scouting was a problem.

    What do you expect Cashman to say while Igawa is still a Yankee? Should he say that he’s a great guy and a hard worker but he stinks and was a terrible signing and never will contribute or even be given another opportunity to contribute? How would that be treating Igawa more fairly?
    He’s not deserving of a shot at the fifth starter position but as long as he’s part of the organization, Cash has to leave the door open to using him if he shows more progress. That’s how I read it.  (Quote)

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    Chris H. Reply:

    You don’t have to condemn Igawa. That flies in the face of everything I said, bg. What I said was, instead of shifting blame onto Igawa for him being where he is, why not admit that you made a mistake rather than dancing around the issue? They did change their scouting after the Igawa mistake, but, again, why not just say it was a mistake rather than blame Igawa? I’m not advocating for Cashman to say, “Igawa isn’t good,” what I’m advocating for is Cashman saying, “My scouting reports were inaccurate.” Instead, Cashman basically said Igawa hasn’t lived up to expectations – expectations that were never realistic – and that’s on him. That’s as bad as saying, “Igawa stinks,” in my opinion.  (Quote)

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    bg90027 Reply:

    I think you are misintrepreting the ambiguity of Cashman’s remarks as a scapegoating of Igawa which it isn’t. Cashman is saying he hasn’t lived up to expectations which is absolutely correct. In saying that “maybe that’s not his fault,” he’s acknowledging that maybe their expecations were much too high and the expectations were obviously based on their scouting. To me, pointedly saying that “our scouting reports were wrong” would be the equivalent of completely writing off Igawa publicly. Igawa still has 2 years left and they have to want him to think the organization still has some belief in him. As long as he’s part of the organization, the official line is going to be and should be that he’s been a disappointment to date but that he’ll have opportunities to help if he can show more.  (Quote)

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    Guest Reply:

    Also, in the same article I cited, Cashman went on to call the Igawa signing “a miss.” Isn’t that writing him off completely?

    I’m confused further…. isn’t that the whole point?? the title of the article is “Cashman won’t own up to the Igawa mistake”…. yet he says that maybe it’s not Igawa’s fault he wasn’t as good as the scouting reports and calls the signing a “miss”

    To me, saying it may not be Igawa’s fault he didn’t meet the scouting reports and calling the sign a “miss” is owning up to it as a mistake… I guess I’m just not sure what it is about Cashman you’re trying to criticize.  (Quote)

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    Chris H. Reply:

    You should read the article in full.

    “Different ball, different mound size, different pitching rotation, a lot of differences,” Cashman said. “Sometimes, you miss. Right now, Igawa is in that ‘miss’ category.”

    Again, Cashman never says that his scouting reports were just inaccurate. What he says is that, Igawa was a “miss,” because of the differences in baseball between Japan and America. How is that owning up to a mistake? Well, it’s not.  (Quote)

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    bg90027 Reply:

    Everything Cashman said is true though. Granted that doesn’t mean that they did a good job scouting him. They’ve made changes in their scouting though. To me, that’s what counts.

    And to me, “RIGHT NOW [emphasis added], Igawa is in that ‘miss’ category” is much better to say with 2 years left on his contract than “our scouting reports were wrong.” He shouldn’t want Igawa to think that the organization has written him off.  (Quote)

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    deadrody Reply:

    No, that is not what he is saying. That is what YOU are interpreting / concluding from what he is saying. They missed on Igawa and Cashman is listing for you examples of problems with the scouting at the time and basically admitting that they screwed up.

    To me, the entire interview is premised on the fact that they Yankees screwed up, that the scouts were wrong, and as a result, the Yankees ended up with a bad signing. Cashman is just detailing what went wrong.  (Quote)

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    Chris H. Reply:

    When Cashman says, “different ball, different mound size, different pitching rotation, a lot of differences,” how are those instances where Cashman is highlighting problems with scouting? “Basically admitting” is not admitting. In fact, it’s far from admitting. He did not say anything about scouting there. He connected performative differences to cultural differences in baseball.  (Quote)

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  5. Matt Imbrogno: What great minor leaguers have been given away in the past two years? I like Ian Kennedy but he had no spot on this team. Phil Coke and Mike Dunn types are a dime-a-dozen. Melky is also easily replaceable (hello, Mr. Winn). Losing Jackson and Vizcaino hurts, but Jackson’s star has dimmed with each passing season and Viz has yet to pitch in a full season league. Getting a CF w/30 HR potential (and one who’s done it before) along with a guy who does nothing but put up 200 inning seasons like they’re going out of style in trades this offseason were great moves. Letting Matsui–who’s knees could explode any day now–walk was also the smart move (a year early > a year late) and waiting out Damon’s game was another good move.  (Quote)

    Please save your Coke & Dunn are a dime a dozen comments which IMo show a lack of understanding and let’s revisit them in 2 years.
    COke was often unhittable by lefties his first season and part of last season until IMO he was overused and lost some zip. He will remegre, possibly as a starter and do quite well, probalby better than whomever we have in the #5 position.He would have been a bulldog for us as a lefty specialist for years.
    Dunn has only been pitching a few years and is already almost major league ready.He throws mid 90′s from the portside and has a chance to develop bigtime.i guess boone Logan is a better prospect. LOL
    We also gave away the group to the Pirates, including Ollendorf who was a starter his entire life and should have been our 5th starter this and last year and the OF’er from Venezuella whom many think is one of the best hitting prospects in the Minor leagues.
    Cashman apologists are many, why, i guess he’s likable.Theo blows him away.  (Quote)

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    Moshe Mandel Reply:

    There are reasons to criticize Cashman. Giving away low ceiling arms like Ohlendorf, Dunn, and Coke is not one of them.  (Quote)

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  6. Lefty. have you read anything about the Yankees that isn’t three years old? Sure, maybe it’s easy to just say that lefty specialists are simply a dime a dozen but, seriously, guys like them are not really THAT tough to come by – how about two dimes a dozen? And Coke won’t do much as a starter (a point which is somewhat moot anyway because there was NO future whatsoever for Coke as a starter on our squad). And Ross Ohlendorf? Seriously? This is the guy you want to be our fifth starter? No thanks. And the Venezuelan outfielder (his name is Jose Tabata by the way) has hit a whopping 26 home runs in over 1600 ABs (not saying he’s bust, just pointing it out). Meanwhile, Marte was HUGE in mowing down the heart of the Phillies order in his Game 6 relief appearance. You have to give up assets to receive assets, we all know that. Cashman’s dealing this off season will help us repeat while not destroying the farm system. So, before calling someone else out for a “lack of understanding” make sure you’ve got all of your info tight.  (Quote)

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  7. Moshe Mandel: There are reasons to criticize Cashman. Giving away low ceiling arms like Ohlendorf, Dunn, and Coke is not one of them.  (Quote)

    Your vision of low ceiling and reality are not necessarily the same.  (Quote)

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    Moshe Mandel Reply:

    And your vision of reality is in conflict with the vision of every single talent evaluator on record. There have not been any who see any of those three as anything but low ceilinged arms.  (Quote)

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  8. Craig: Lefty. have you read anything about the Yankees that isn’t three years old? Sure, maybe it’s easy to just say that lefty specialists are simply a dime a dozen but, seriously, guys like them are not really THAT tough to come by – how about two dimes a dozen? And Coke won’t do much as a starter (a point which is somewhat moot anyway because there was NO future whatsoever for Coke as a starter on our squad). And Ross Ohlendorf? Seriously? This is the guy you want to be our fifth starter? No thanks. And the Venezuelan outfielder (his name is Jose Tabata by the way) has hit a whopping 26 home runs in over 1600 ABs (not saying he’s bust, just pointing it out). Meanwhile, Marte was HUGE in mowing down the heart of the Phillies order in his Game 6 relief appearance. You have to give up assets to receive assets, we all know that. Cashman’s dealing this off season will help us repeat while not destroying the farm system. So, before calling someone else out for a “lack of understanding” make sure you’ve got all of your info tight.  (Quote)

      (Quote)

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  9. Learn the differecne between OPINION and fact.Your opinions of DUn, Ohlendorf and COke are not FACTS, just opinions.  (Quote)

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    Chris H. Reply:

    I don’t think any of those guys will be missed, really.  (Quote)

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  10. Coke will re-emerge as a starter ? LOL. Good one. Coke was good as a reliever, but far too likely to give up HRs and he was exposed pretty well in the playoffs. They sold high on Coke. In fact, if you look up “sell high” in the GM Handbook, there are probably pictures of Coke and Austin Jackson.

    LeftyLarry:
    Please save your Coke & Dunn are a dime a dozen comments which IMo show a lack of understanding and let’s revisit them in 2 years.
    COke was often unhittable by lefties his first season and part of last season until IMO he was overused and lost some zip. He will remegre, possibly as a starter and do quite well, probalby better than whomever we have in the #5 position.He would have been a bulldog for us as a lefty

      (Quote)

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  11. Moshe Mandel: And your vision of reality is in conflict with the vision of every single talent evaluator on record. There have not been any who see any of those three as anything but low ceilinged arms.  

    I would already argue that Ollendorf has pitched better than Joba, Hughes or Kennedy as a starting pitcher behind a terrible team. SO much for talent evaluators.  (Quote)

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    Moshe Mandel Reply:

    Yes, because their careers are over, so it makes sense to judge.  (Quote)

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  12. deadrody: Coke will re-emerge as a starter ?LOL.Good one.Coke was good as a reliever, but far too likely to give up HRs and he was exposed pretty well in the playoffs.They sold high on Coke.In fact, if you look up “sell high” in the GM Handbook, there are probably pictures of Coke and Austin Jackson.
      

    i WAS PERFECTLY SATISIFED WITH HIM AS A LEFTY specialist.I have read they want him to start.He maybe short one pitch, he may not be but where do oyu find reasonably young southpaws who thorw mid 90′s and can do it in NY ?
    He sogwed enough as a Rookie and again early on last year to be considered a solid ML pitcher with upside.Many lefties emerge and reemerge late.  (Quote)

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  13. By the way, you conveniently left out the word Possibly when you attacked me for suggesting Coke would POSSIBLY reemerge as a starter.
    Let’s keep Jonathon Albaledjo around though.he has huge upside.  (Quote)

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  14. Lefty, take it easy. Kei has shown a few good innings. That doesn’t hurt, even if Brian wished for more. Maybe he can work into the lefty specialist. Cashman’s been doing better: his heart is in the right place, he’s got to take risks.  (Quote)

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    bornwithpinstripes Reply:

    get igawa a wok and keep him in the club house, he is only blocking a spot on the roster ..AAA or other wise.. send him on his way already..we all shouldn’t be wasting time talking about a never was or will be… 4mil off the roster after this year….i hope…why didn’t cash trade him to SD a few years back when they had interest …does any one know?  (Quote)

    [Reply To This Comment]

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