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.
Hendricks needs the win, anyway, plus a couple more.
My hunch is that Hendricks wins the Cy Young . . . for Lester. That is, without Hendricks tipping the scale toward the Cubs, Scherzer tops Lester.
Old Cub fans remember when Ken Hubbs died at 22 in the crash of a small plane he was piloting in a storm in Utah in 1964. But Hubbs was not an elite power pitcher like Score and Fernandez. Score lived a long time after the accident but it was (effectively) career-ending.
HAGSAG: Since I've only seen them throw in one game and in one "live" BP session, all I can do is provide initial first impressions.
Brailyn Marquez is listed at 6'4 but is probably more like 6'5 or 6'6. I would describe him as a younger version of Bryan Hudson, throwing a ton of ground balls but not getting a lot of swings & misses (yet). Because of his size he could eventually grow into more velocity, but right now he's mostly a pitch-to-contact guy. He generally throws strikes.
Phil, do Marquez and Ocampo look like prospects?
It helps when your defense has declared war against the H in WHIP.
Lackey finishes with a 3.35 ERA. Currently good for 13th in the NL. Not bad for a guy signed to be a #3 starter in a 15-team league.
He is also 6th in WHIP. Pretty amazing: Cubs have the #2, #3, #5 and #6 starters in WHIP.
Completely meaningless game, but Pena striking out Sean the Turd to with the bases loaded was very fun.
Other than one bad game in SD, Pena has been very good. Even with that game, 9.0 IP, 13 K, 0.89 WHIP.
101 wins...most since 1910 (104).
neat. ...or sad. pick one. pick both. 'murica.
Just looked up Grimm's stats -- after a great run, he gave up 2 runs vs. MIL then didn't pitch for 10 days. Don't remember why?
Sean Rodriguez's helmet looks like it's taking a dump
Grimm not doing himself any favors lately re: making the playoff squad. Seems to have lost the feel for his curveball.
j.grimm is literally worse than hitler.
felix pena, your turn.
it's been a while since joe's over-managed a game...it's gotta feel good for him to be back in the saddle making people's scorecards look like their pens blew up.
Fuck a bench spot on the playoff roster, Coghlan is competing to bat cleanup.
barely any...especially for an evening game. place looks 1/2 full at best to start the game.
Listening on the radio. Are there any fans in the stands at all?