Igarashi testing MLB waters

This man will leave a decent-sized hold in the Swallows' bullpen.It was reported that Ryota Igarashi, long-time set-up and closer out of the Tokyo bullpen, will be spending the winter training in the United States as he works through the process of signing with a team there.

A couple of teams have apparentlyalready shown interest in the hard throwing right-handed pitcher: the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Texas Rangers.

Interestingly, the Pirates just acquired Akinori Iwamura in a straight-up trade with Tampa Bay. Iwamura was traded man-for-man with Jesse Chavez, a decent relief pitcher. The Rays apparently felt that Iwamura, just coming off a season cut short by a knee injury, was going to be too expensive to hold onto for a utility player. The Pirates, meanwhile, desperately need a second baseman (Iwamura played third for the Tokyo Swallows), and a healthy Aki Iwamura can definitely plug that gap for them.

If Igarashi ends up signing with Pittsburgh, then it would be a reunion of sorts for the two former Tokyo players. It would also be the first time that two former Tokyo Swallows players have ended up on the same MLB team.

About Christopher Pellegrini

Christopher is a budding sabermetrician and long-time supporter of Tokyo’s more lovable team, the Swallows. He has publicly volunteered, several times, that he plans to buy the team at some point in the future. When he finally runs the joint, it is likely that he will fine any player who swings at the first pitch or sac bunts (unless it’s a pitcher, of course). Follow him on Twitter: @chrispellegrini

  • Christopher

    Not exactly Igarashi but what do you guys think about Fujimoto joining you?

  • James

    Don’t know too much about him, but my Tigers supporting colleague says he should be a decent signing.

    He bats at over .250 over his career and is a good infielder. I’m sure he will be way better than both Yuuichi and Hatakeyama.

  • Rob

    We don’t need Fujimoto – just another light-hitting, decent-fielding IF to add to the pile we already have. Good that he hits lefty, but he’s 32 and he doesn’t add much to the mix otherwise. I’m not dissing him personally, I just can’t see how adding him would make a difference.

    I’d rather we grab… the J of JFK you cut – Can’t come up with his name. Did college in Louisiana (why? He’s from Australia?!?!) . Jeff…. Williams! (That would have kept me up all night!) Is he done, or does he have anything left? He was ???, so anyone could sign him, no?

    But I like Lim and Lee, so another non-J pitcher would just mess things up. A lefty middleman is on my wish-list, though. Lee should be starting, and Barrett got thrashed regularly when he was with the ichi-gun.
    Heck, an old-but-experienced Kudoh to provide some adult supervision to the TYS kiddie staff would have been nice.

    I’m more annoyed Takada will be back, and that he might find some excuse to get rid of D’Antona. .276/21/83 and some time off for injuries is not superwonderful, but where else are we going to come up with 21 HR? Only four players were in double digits in HR and I’m pretty sure Kawashima was a fluke (with 12 HR, most of them (anecdotally) at times that didn’t matter).

    Igarashi is not a loss. Kroon-lite. Better control, less heat. A good set-up man in the majors, or closer for a second-tier team. Without him, we should be able to find SOMEBODY who can throw the eighth inning.

    While I’m daydreaming, could the Fighters just cut fat-boy Nakata? If they’re not going to play him and instead just waste him in the ni-gun while complaining about his fielding – hey, let him go, trade him, get something for him, shut up already. You knew what you were getting when you drafted him, right?
    Make 15 (or 20?) errors a year at 3B at Jingu? Fine, as long as you hit 20+ HR. I know HNHF got seven or eight gold gloves, so they can’t deal with an IF who can’t field, but we (I) could! Bring him on!