Friday, December 15, 2006

Rays sign Akinori Iwamura - 3 years $7.25m

Yesterday the Devil Rays came to terms with 27 year old Akinori Iwamura, a gold gloving winning thirdbase man who looks to be the Rays the starting starter for next season at the hot corner. The dollars are reasonable, and Iwamura projects according to CHONE to be around a league average thirdbaseman with the stick, which will be a nice addition to the Devil Rays.

In Japan, his typical line looks a lot like what Garret Atkins posted last season for Colorado - .300/.390/.550, translated to the American League in 2007 that looks something like: .270/.330/.430, which by itself isn't great but if the glove is good, and it's a position of need (which it is) then its a good pickup.

The only concern would be if this blocks Evan Longoria, at all. Longoria is a hard hitting thirdbaseman drafted out of Long Beach State who tore through the minors last year, and might be one of the 5-10 best hitting prospects in baseball. I'm not too concerned with this potential conflict as Longoria isn't likely going to be ready until opening day 2008, and because Iwamura has positional flexibility, since he can supposedly play passable secondbase and centerfield.