Pirates Interested In Getting Outbid For Japanese Reliever Ryota Igarashi

Via Bucs Dugout:

Pirates GM Neil Huntington: “In acquiring (Akinori) Iwamura, we opened the door to getting Japanese players. We gave up a middle reliever to get Iwamura, so he [Igarashi] is a player we have interest in.”

Ryota Igarashi is a 30-year-old right-handed reliever for the Japanese League’s Yakult Swallows (I hope their logo is a bird) who’s posted consistently respectable numbers in Japan and is looking to sign with an MLB team this offseason.

He and the Pirates make a lot of sense for one another; the Pirates just dealt righty reliever Jesse Chavez from an already makeshift bullpen, they have plenty of payroll room, and an Igarashi signing in the same offseason as the Iwamura acquisition would graciously give Pittsburgh sportswriters some softball “Asian players loving the ‘Burgh!” columns to write every other day.

On Igarashi’s end, if I were his agent (or any successful reliever’s agent), my absolute #1 priority would be signing with the club that would provide the shortest possible distance between my client and the closer role, and on the Pirates, he’d be just the breadth of Matt Capps’ linebacker neck and possibly a Joel Hanrahan tuneup away from grabbing ninth inning duties, padding his statline with some saves, and exponentially increasing his subsequent contract if he remains successful.

Still, after Rocco Baldelli signed with the Red Sox last year for less money and less playing time than the Pirates were offering, I remain eternally skeptical of the PBC’s ability to land any remotely pursued free agent, regardless of how logical the fit is for both sides. I assume Boston will sign him for $15 million to be their solid, go-to 5th inning guy.

If this fails, there are still tons of terrific, top-tier free agents available for the Pirates to throw money at:

Adam Laroche Free Agent


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One Response to “Pirates Interested In Getting Outbid For Japanese Reliever Ryota Igarashi”

  1. HADA-Japanese MLB Fan Says:

    I want him to play in Japan.

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