• Igawa Wanted To Go Home

    Posted by on May 30th, 2008 · Comments (13)

    Via Jayson Stark – with a hat tip to The Bronx Block:

    Kei Igawa isn’t quite as buried on that Yankees’ depth chart as Carl Pavano, but it’s close. And he’s already homesick. We’ve heard from two different baseball men recently that Igawa asked the Yankees over the winter if there was any way he could return to Japan. The Yankees quietly explored their options, got nowhere and gave up. They’re still on the hook for nearly $11 million to Igawa through the 2010 season.

    Remember the Kevin Millar “Japan” thing back in 2003? Via the Times:

    Kevin Millar was obtained by the Boston Red Sox in a cash deal with the Florida Marlins yesterday after the Japanese team he agreed to sign with last month released him from his contract.

    The Marlins received an undisclosed payment for Millar, 31, a first baseman-outfielder.

    Millar, who led Florida with a .306 batting average last season, agreed in early January to a two-year, $6.2 million contract with the Chunichi Dragons of Japan’s Central League. The Marlins released him in exchange for a $1.2 million payment from the Dragons. Millar, who was being pursued by the Red Sox, then changed his mind about playing in Japan, saying his family did not want him to leave at a time of possible war with Iraq.

    After talks with Major League Baseball officials, the Dragons released Millar on Friday for an undisclosed payment, the commissioner’s office said. One of the negotiators said the amount would be $1.2 million to $1.5 million.

    Theo Epstein, Boston’s general manager, said the Red Sox were not involved in the discussions to free Millar from the Dragons.

    It’s a shame the Yankees couldn’t work out something like this – in reverse – where Japan gave the Yankees an undisclosed payment to release Igawa – and then Kei was free to return to Japan. Doesn’t seem so hard, does it? Unless, of course, no one in Japan wanted to touch Igawa with a ten foot pole…and, if true, that makes the Yankees call to spend $46 million on him look even worse, now.

    Comments on Igawa Wanted To Go Home

    1. Joel
      May 30th, 2008 | 9:31 am

      Igawa was an all-star in cosmopolitan Japan. Now he’s toiling in Moosic, PA. If there ever was a player whose body language said “I don’t want to be here,” it’s Igawa.

      If Igawa doesn’t want to spend what would be the prime of his Japanese baseball career in Moosic, maybe he can kick in some of the $11 million owed to him to make something work?

    2. Raf
      May 30th, 2008 | 12:06 pm

      It’s a shame the Yankees couldn’t work out something like this – in reverse – where Japan gave the Yankees an undisclosed payment to release Igawa – and then Kei was free to return to Japan.
      ——————–
      I know that some teams in NPB are/were having financial problems, I don’t know if Hanshin is one of them. But that could explain why Igawa is still Yankees property.

    3. MJ
      May 30th, 2008 | 12:22 pm

      I’m a little confused. If Igawa is homesick and asked for a way out then isn’t the solution in his own hands? Can’t he just ask the Yankees for a settlement/buyout and go back to Japan?

      The Yankees could have the buyout include a non-compete clause where he doesn’t sign with an MLB team for X years and then both sides walk away from a deal that isn’t making either side happy.

    4. hopbitters
      May 30th, 2008 | 1:23 pm

      The Yankees could have the buyout include a non-compete clause where he doesn’t sign with an MLB team for X years and then both sides walk away from a deal that isn’t making either side happy.

      -

      I’d be OK if he signed with another MLB team, especially one in the division.

    5. OnceIWasAYankeeFan
      May 30th, 2008 | 1:51 pm

      There is no such thing as a ‘settlement’ to get out of a bad contract with a player who doesn’t want to be there. Igawa signed a major league contract and he is entitled to the full salary that the Yankees agreed to pay.

      Obviously they have not given up on the idea of getting something at the major league level out of this guy. Otherwise, they’d have released him to let him go back to Japan. You don’t need a payment as compensation to giving up the rights to his services, unless you think there is some value to his services. The Yankee hierarchy doesn’t want him (yet) to pitch for a different team.

      I would expect that unless his results change and they give him a chance in the Bronx again, he will either be dealt around the trade deadline or else sometime next winter he’ll simply be released, the Yankees will pay off his full remaining salary (11 million, iirc) and wave sayonara.

    6. Don
      May 30th, 2008 | 2:23 pm

      Another Ca$hman mess.

    7. hopbitters
      May 30th, 2008 | 2:27 pm

      I would expect that unless his results change and they give him a chance in the Bronx again, he will either be dealt around the trade deadline or else sometime next winter he’ll simply be released, the Yankees will pay off his full remaining salary (11 million, iirc) and wave sayonara.

      -
      That seems to be the likely scenario. My guess is that there will be a team willing to give him a try at the deadline.

    8. Raf
      May 30th, 2008 | 2:27 pm

      There is no such thing as a ’settlement’ to get out of a bad contract with a player who doesn’t want to be there. Igawa signed a major league contract and he is entitled to the full salary that the Yankees agreed to pay.
      —————–
      I don’t think anyone’s disputing that.

    9. Raf
      May 30th, 2008 | 2:29 pm

      My guess is that there will be a team willing to give him a try at the deadline.
      ———-
      The Padres were willing last year.

    10. OnceIWasAYankeeFan
      May 30th, 2008 | 2:57 pm

      Raf,
      use of the term “settlement” (which I’ve seen elsewhere, probably in regards to Pavano) usually seems to imply some sort of reduction in money owed in exchange for freedom to sign elsewhere.

      And, I think last year the Yanks valued Igawa a bit more. I would bet this time they’d take whatever San Diego offered last year.

    11. Raf
      May 30th, 2008 | 3:16 pm

      “Settlement” probably was used in reference to Pavano, another player who allegedly didn’t/doesn’t want to be here.

      In either case, it isn’t a matter of a team trying to void or restructure their contract, it’s supposedly on the player’s end. That has been done before.

      Unless there’s something in his contract, I don’t know why Igawa, if he wants to go back to Japan so badly, doesn’t just retire and head back; Kaz Sasaki did it with the M’s.

    12. OnceIWasAYankeeFan
      May 30th, 2008 | 3:52 pm

      Well, if Igawa “retires” the Yankees are off the hook for the balance of his contract.

      5 million a year helps to make the charms of Moosic, PA a bit more apparent.

    13. Raf
      May 30th, 2008 | 4:51 pm

      Well, if Igawa “retires” the Yankees are off the hook for the balance of his contract.
      ————
      Yes, but money isn’t the issue. The Yanks have no issue paying him.

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