Pirates interested in Ryota Igarashi
According to Patrick Newman of NPB Tracker, the Pittsburgh Pirates are interested in Japanese relief pitcher Ryota Igarashi. The following quote came from Pirates general manager, Neal 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.”
Patrick also adds that Iwamura and Igarashi played together in Japan. Igarashi is a 30 year old right handed reliever, and has spent his entire 11 year career in Japan. In his career he has made 507 appearances, with a 3.25 ERA and 630 strikeouts in 570 innings pitched. He holds the record for the fastest pitch thrown by a Japanese pitcher at an NPB game at 98.75 MPH. Check out Patrick Newman’s profile of him at NPB Tracker
The Pirates certainly have an advantage with Iwamura on the roster. The Boston Red Sox had a similar advantage when pursuing Junichi Tazawa, having Daisuke Matsuzaka on their roster. The Seattle Mariners signed Kenji Johjima, thanks in part to Ichiro. If the Pirates were to sign Igarashi, it wouldn’t be the first time a Japanese player picked a team because of the presence of another Japanese player on the roster.
If that were to happen, give credit to Neal Huntington for thinking ahead in this matter. The Iwamura trade could look that much better if we end up with Iwamura and Igarashi, all for the price of Jesse Chavez and however much it costs to land Igarashi.