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.

 

Year Age Tm G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS OPS+
2007 28 TBD 123 559 491 82 140 21 10 7 34 12 8 58 114 .285 .359 .411 .770 105
2008 29 TBR 152 707 627 91 172 30 9 6 48 8 6 70 131 .274 .349 .380 .729 92
2009 30 TBR 69 260 231 28 67 16 2 1 22 9 1 24 44 .290 .355 .390 .745 94
3 Seasons 344 1526 1349 201 379 67 21 14 104 29 15 152 289 .281 .354 .393 .747 97
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 10/27/2009.

Rays vs MarlinsIwamura 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.

 

Comments

I vote yes. Plus his wife is hot.

yes

that would give Jaramillo two reasons to buy the Rosetta stone/Japanese edition

of course, Aki could just become Fukudome's hitting coach. So (who needs) Taguchi.

...and Iwamura was the Rays starting third baseman in 2007, the season before Longoria arrived on the scene. He's a definite backup at 3B when ARam does his annual DL stint although Baker will have more power if a longer ARam absence occurs.

Please, no.

We already have a fine second baseman, Ryan Theriot.

I would love this. Aki was loved in the TB clubhouse, and would be a solid utility guy who can back up any infield position.

Trade Bradley for him!!!!

~ducks~

"His basestealing numbers are rather poor though, being successful less than 65% of the time and a career high of 12."

WOW! He'd fall right in-line with The Riot here!

theriot is 74% for his career, but much worse the last 2 years...

75% is the, "it's the worth the risk" standard....

Or we could just teach Fountainout Japanese and save $3 million.

I think this is a great idea. I love the guy. And I'm as sad about it as anyone, but the only thing Fontenot could do for Aki is hand him a bat.

Hell, I'd be willing to throw him at the wall and see if it stuck.

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