Akinori Iwamura? Why not?

CBS Sports is reporting the Pirates have designated struggling second baseman Akinori Iwamura for assignment. The move clears room for top prospect Pedro Alvarez at the big league level.

Iwamura, who is making $4.8 million, has been one of the majors’ worst offensive players, batting .182 with two homers and nine RBI while striking out 31 times in 165 at-bats. Coming off major knee surgery last season with Tampa Bay, Iwamura showed minimal range defensively at second base.


Sounds terrible…

But he’s not. And the Mets should take a flyer on the guy. Here’s why:

  1. From 2007-09, he recorded an OPS of .770, .729 and .745. In other words, there is talent in there, somewhere.
  2. He’s 31 years old and coming off knee surgery, so he probably wasn’t worth the risk of a big contract, but that was the Pirates’ mistake. The time is right to buy low. VERY low.
  3. He would provide a veteran left-handed bat off the bench
  4. Iwamura entered May 23 batting .151.  Since then, he has raised his average 30 points to .181, mostly in a backup role. During that same time period, he raised his OPS from .481 to .558.
  5. Although he has primarily played 2B/3B during his time in the majors, Iwamura played outfield in the minor leagues (in Japan) and there were reports that he would play shortstop when he reported to spring training for Tampa Bay in 2007. In other words, he could be a left-handed version of Tatis and Cora, combined… albeit without the leadership qualities.

I’m not a big fan of signing or trading for washed up veterans, but I’m not convinced this guy is washed up. If  Iwamura can be had on the cheap, he could be a versatile role player down the stretch.

John Fitzgerald is an independent film/TV producer. In 2007, he followed former Mets 2B Wally Backman and his minor league team for the TV show, "Playing for Peanuts." Click here for DVD ordering information NOTE: $5 from each sale goes to maintenance costs of MetsToday.com
  1. ajsosa June 16, 2010 at 10:00 pm
    Because We have Robinson Tejada, Joshua Satin, Reese Havens, Flores and Jonathan Malo Ready To Call UP…….
  2. John Fitzgerald June 16, 2010 at 11:20 pm
    I'm talking about bringing in Iwamura as a role player. I wouldn't put any of those guys on the bench at this point in their development and I wouldn't trust any of those guys as a late inning pinch-hitter either.
  3. John June 17, 2010 at 2:28 am
    Hopefully this team has finally learned to not take on aging veterans's any longer. Who would you have Iwamura replace. Tejada is only temporary until Castillo returns (we can debate the merit of that change). Tatis, Cora, ? Where is the upgrade? Why mess with the chemistry for an aging veteran whose best days are behind him.
  4. John Fitzgerald June 17, 2010 at 3:22 am
    I think Tatis would be a candidate. I'd much rather have a left-handed bat that has been a reliable everyday player as recently as last year.

    As far as chemistry, any good AAA team would have good chemistry if they played the Orioles and Indians. Let's not award the World Series trophy just yet. If Omar has a chance to better the team, he should do it.

  5. Bubb June 17, 2010 at 3:33 am
    Castillo and Iwamura? Something about that makes no sense at all. You're pulling our legs,perhaps? What a kidder.
  6. JonG June 17, 2010 at 8:39 am
    Simple. Get rid of Cora. That’d free up a spot for Iwamura… and prevent that awful 80 game vesting clause for next season to kick in.
    • isuzudude June 17, 2010 at 1:19 pm
      The Mets aren't eating Cora's $2-mil pricetag, so think again.

      I'm not a big fan of Iwamura, though. He's got the ability to field multiple positions, but that doesn't mean he fields them well. And CitiField is no place to be making major league debuts in the outfield. He'd be equal to Tatis on defense, which ain't really saying much.

      Additionally, John, you bring up you'd rather have Iwamura's left-handed bat on the bench than Tatis' righty swing. But why? That leaves your bench with 4 lefties (Carter, Feliciano, Cora, Iwamura) and a righty backup catcher. I don't like that dearth of versatility. Plus, Aki has been better vs, LHP than RHP over his career (.289 vs .262), so if you want him because you think the team needs more bats who are productive against righties, your move would seem to backfire.

      Iwamura has proven to be a low-power, high-strikeout guy with lukewarm speed and defensive range. I don't see him as a clear upgrade over anybody currently on the bench, so I just don't see the need to go seeking his services.