Cubs Potential Offseason Targets: Akinori Iwamura
Let's move back to the infield and check in on another possible second basemen...the Rays Akinori Iwamura.
Iwamura will be 31 next season and missed most of 2009 with a torn MCL. He's due $4.25M in the final year of his deal with a $250K buyout according to Cot's (the St. Petersburg Times says $4.85M with a $550K buyout). Although he has less than 6 years service time, his contract allows him to be a free agent if his option isn't picked up which is becoming standard fare for the Japanese players signing in the U.S. I have no idea what the Rays plans are at second base, and Iwamura himself would like to stay in Tampa according to that link above. But as a small market team, you have to think the Rays would always be willing to move a contract in the right deal if they have other options and Ben Zobrist made a pretty fine other option last season.
The offensive numbers won't really strike the fear of God in anyone. He has spent most of his time with the Rays as their leadoff man and with a walk rate around 10% per plate appearance while seeing well over 4 pitcher per plate appearances, he seems well suited for that part of the job requirement. His basestealing numbers are rather poor though, being successful less than 65% of the time and a career high of 12.
Defensively, BP has his Rate2 numbers at 96 and below average at second base and 101 for his season at third base in 2007. UZR is a little kinder and the Fan's Scouting Report was really high on him for 2007 and 2008. He also won a bunch of gold gloves in Japan.
I say if the Cubs are chatting with the Rays about Milton Bradley, let's see if they can get Iwamura in a deal instead of Pat Burrell who would have no place to play with the Cubs. Now of course there are other logistics to the whole Bradley/Burrell rumor and I don't even know if the Rays are shopping Iwamura yet or will just buy him out. But if the Cubs did acquire Iwamura, he could challenge Jeff Baker for the starting spot at an affordable price and be a good backup/bench option at third base. It's not Chase Utley but could be another small improvement for the 2010 team.
Manny Rondon faced 13 batters ... and got 10 to K. Not a bad day's work.
With several other Cubs hitters bailing out on curves today I think overall it wasn't being seen well. It for sure looked silly but a good breaking pitch coming at you and then breaking down isn't the easiest thing to see and has made many hitters look silly. Also Soler should have more walks this year but for quite a few called strikes that were actual balls and even the called strike he bailed on was borderline.
it's not like we're talking about a guy who's never had issues with pitch selection and seeing the ball over here. we're talking about a guy who has some rather legendary swing-and-misses at breaking stuff who's been exploited low. going forward it's worth paying attention to seeing if he can be exploited inside, too. he seriously bailed out of the box on a called strike. sure it was a good curve, but he obviously didn't see that well at all.
It would seem like he is figuring it out now and it's really coming together. Really happy for him. Joe was really protecting him from the 3rd time through the order, but as you allude to, he is earning trust to go deeper.
Wondering if has potential to become a #3 pitcher? His current stats certainly support it.
That doesn't count b/c CRUNCH didn't see it on his 60" HDTV 5 times in replay.
I have seen many players "bail out" when the ball looked like it was gonna hit them.
Especially with the advent of the splitter and pitchers that can really get the ball to dance. Marmol, Sutter, Pedro Martinez, Curt Schilling, Derek Lowe, Smoltz, Arrietta...
These guys have made the best bail out only for the ball to come over the plate and be called a strike.
No shame in that. The same way players whiff hard enough to cause them to drill a hole in the ground from spinning.
a 60" TV with slow-motion replay and multiple looks on that replay helps...a lot...
it's one thing to shy away like he did the 2nd time, it's another to bail out of the box on a called strike. that happened in the 1st one he pulled away from. he misjudged that one by a foot or so...
Good Hendricks sure is fun to watch. He was hitting all his corners today and the Phillies couldn't do anything with his changeup.
Bryant and I believe Zobrist both did that too.
Soler BB acumen and plate awareness is excellent. Not unusual for even the best players to react as if they were about to hit them, "even though they weren't that close" from your vantage point sitting on your deck, or wherever.
soler vs inside breaking balls is scary.
he's had 2 inside curve balls today where he reacted as if they were about to hit him even though they weren't that close...one he bailed out of the box on, it was a called strike.
j.urias optioned back to AAA...guess we wont be seeing him in the LAD series.
so is him actually getting 2 hits in a game (2 doubles!)...first time he's even been on base 2 times in a game since 9 games ago on his 3/4, 1bb day.
im ready for him to at least look like a 2-slot hitter since he's gonna be slotted there no matter what he does.
That Heyward move to avoid Bryant's ball hit at him was a thing of beauty too.
9 pitches in and this game already rules.
HR, double...bryant's turn (who came out to a Kris Kross song for some horrible, horrible reason).
...2 run inning...zoobrest hitting streak at 14.
First time I saw Herrera was yesterday. He took like 100 pitches, fouled off a ton off Lester.
Very nice young player and perfect leadoff guy.
Obviously not Phil. But he mentioned this on Wednesday.
"Dominican Summer League (DSL) Opening Day is Saturday June 4th, so probably about 8-10 pitchers and position players presently at EXST in Mesa will be sent to the Cubs Dominican Academy (probably sometime this week) and be assigned to either DSL Cubs #1 or DSL Cubs #2."
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