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