YakyuBaka reported this morning that the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles, now led by media star Senichi Hoshino, have managed to lure Akinori Iwamura away from MLB.
Iwamura has been quoted saying that he preferred to stay in North America but that he really just wanted to play for a team that needed him.
I’d be very interested to hear if Tokyo even approached their former star player. Tokyo isn’t exactly in the business of spending money on the free agent market (we prefer to add to our roster with veterans who are on their way out such as Hamanaka and Miyade), so it’s possible that the birds never seriously considered putting an offer together.
But maybe Tokyo feels that Iwamura is on his way out as well. Who knows? Or maybe they just feel that there’s no room for him at this point as a starter. With Miyamoto still productive at third and Hatakeyama available to fill in for him when he needs the evening off, it might be difficult to justify the expense.
And there’s no reason to push Miyamoto back over to short to make space for the guy who used to play third for the Swallows. Tokyo has several young players platooning there (Onizaki, Kawabata and Araki are strong enough that the team recently cut Kajimoto). And Iwamura would have a very hard time replicating Tanaka’s range at second given his recent knee surgery.
Hey, maybe he’s just pissed that Aoki took his old jersey, so he prefers to play for a team that has the number one jersey still available.