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.
But he’s not. And the Mets should take a flyer on the guy. Here’s why:
- From 2007-09, he recorded an OPS of .770, .729 and .745. In other words, there is talent in there, somewhere.
- 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.
- He would provide a veteran left-handed bat off the bench
- 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.
- 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.