As first reported by the seemingly infallible Buster Olney, the Yankees have won the rights to negotiate with this year’s other posted Japanese pitcher, Kei Igawa, with $26,000,194 bid. (194 is the number of strikeouts Igawa recorded this year, which is… kind of oddly whimsical for a major financial negotiation, huh?). Regardless, the Yanks have the Red Sox to thank for making $26 million suddenly seem like a totally reasonable amount of money to pay for NEGOTIATING RIGHTS. I know very little about Igawa; the consensus online seems to be that he’s certainly worth a shot, but not someone you'd count on to save the rotation. Still, given the choice between Igawa, Ted Lily or Gil Mesh, I’d take a flyer on the Hanshin Tigers ace. Cliff Corcoran at Bronx Banter has a good in-depth look at Igawa; he compares his career numbers to Matsuzaka’s and finds that they’re really not all that different. Hmmm. Also, Yanksfan vs Soxfan has vital YouTube footage of Igawa... trying to fly a toy helicopter? Sweet. I'm sold.
It’s been discussed too much already, so I'll keep this quick: the AL MVP was not a logical choice. I probably would have gone with Mauer or Santana, though there's a very strong case to be made for Jeter too. Oh well -- I'm sure he'll struggle on somehow.
Speaking of divisive awards voting, the Hall of Fame ballots are out, and there are some tough calls this year, Mark McGwire being the most obvious. I think I’d probably vote for him, though not without reservations. Remember that when he played, MLB had no rule against steroids – which is a gaping, gaping oversight, but there you are. Besides which, I think you have to take into account more than just numbers with the HOF – a player’s impact on the culture of the game (though many would probably disagree with me here) is also an issue. McGwire was absolutely the face of baseball in the 90s. I mean, he broke Roger Maris' record; it doesn’t seem like such a good thing now, but he did, and it was amazing, and proving exactly how much of that was due to steroids and how much wasn't is currently impossible. That's also why I’d consider Don Mattingly -- he doesn’t have the numbers (stupid back problems!), but because of his impact, totally dominating New York baseball in the 80s, you have to at least think about it... though after you thought about it, you probably couldn’t vote for him. Okay, fine. I'd really, really want to though.
Meanwhile, I absolutely cannot understand why the Mets are letting Chad Bradford sign with the Orioles. That guy kicks all kinds of ass. I just assumed he was going to re-sign with the Mets; if he was really available, the Yankees should have been all over him. $10 million for three years is very reasonable for a 32-year-old reliever this good -- or it is in the current insane marketplace, anyway.
And by the way, WasWatching has this handy chart detailing Manny Ramirez’s performance against the Yankees since his arrival in Boston. Please... please... please trade him. Please? Seriously, is Manny dismembering prostitutes in the locker room, or what? Why are they even considering this? We just must not know the full story.