Sunday, September 28, 2008

Open Letter to Brian Cashman: Does snubbing Kei Igawa make you feel better?

Dear Madam or Sir,

Well, this is a strange question, considering how many punch lines we've draped around the ears of our famous Flying Monkey. But as we send Sir Sidney Ponson out to start in our final, meaningless day of this horrible season... it bugs us:

Why didn't you call up Kei Igawa this month?

He was, after all, Scranton "Pitcher of the Year." He performed well in the International League playoffs. He deserved a shot.

What if Igawa pitched well this week? Might some team have considered him in a trade?

Something feels icky. Igawa this season got one major league start. And, yeah, he sucked. He went three and gave up six. He got demoted. A month later, June, he got called up for one inning. No runs. He finishes with an ERA over 13.00.

Yet we trotted out Sir Sidney and Carl Pavano, every fifth day.

Why not Igawa?

OK, he's not on the 40-man? Sorry. There are ways to get a guy up. You just have to want it.

Obviously, you didn't.

There's something icky here.

All year, the Yanks seem to be punishing Igawa for not being a great pitcher.

They don't want to punish the people who dropped $26 million to sign him.
Frankly, it's not Igawa's fault that we whiffed on Dice-K, while the Redsocks did due dilligence and recognized how expensive he'd be.
It's not Igawa's fault that we whiffed on Okajima, whom the Redsocks signed for next to nothing.
Finally, it's not Igawa's fault that we shot money at him through a firehose, because we were embarrassed by our own incompetence and needed a poster boy from Japan.

Not his fault. He just took the money. Wouldn't anybody?

Actually, sir, it was your fault.

Here's somethng to ponder: We haven't pulled any meaningful talent out of Japan in five years. We haven't pulled any meaningful talent out of Cuba in 10, not since Andy Morales (whom we similarly shunned.) Our Latin American scouting system is a horror show scandal.
And now we act as if Igawa doesn't exist: snubbing him, making an example of him, ignoring him.

And not good business sense.

Some ballplayers are coming out of Japan these days. Watch the Chicago Cubs this fall. I hear they're in the playoffs.

Also, there's something else.
Word gets around in foreign markets. People talk. If an organization treats foreign players with vindictiveness, with ridicule, with unfairness... why would a guy want to play for them?

Some writers these days say we merely need to sign a few free agents, and everything will be all right.

Sir, that's bullshit. You have work to do.

If you aren't already doing it, you must overhaul our foreign scouting system. And do some internal thinking about the way we spend great effort to salvage the Pavanos, the Kennedys, the Hughes, the Ponsons, the Rasners, et al ... and then make a scapegoat out of the guy who doesn't speak the language.
There's a pitcher right now in Japan who might be the difference in 2009.
God help us if he's talking with Kei Igawa.

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