Yankees win rights to Igawa for about $26 million
By RONALD BLUM, AP Baseball Writer
November 28, 2006
NEW YORK (AP) -- The New York Yankees won the bidding for Japanese pitcher Kei Igawa when the Hanshin Tigers accepted their offer of about $26 million Tuesday.
After the bidding closed Monday, the Tigers were informed of the amount of the high bid, but not which team made it. The New York Mets bid about $15 million for Igawa, a baseball official said on condition of anonymity because the amounts of losing bids are not disclosed.
The Yankees have until midnight at the end of Dec. 28 to work out a contract with the 27-year-old left-hander. Igawa is represented by Arn Tellem, also the agent for Yankees left fielder Hideki Matsui.
The Yankees pay Hanshin only if they reach an agreement for Igawa.
Igawa went 14-9 last season with a 2.97 ERA in Japan. He struck out 194 to tie for the Central League lead, adding to the strikeout titles he won in 2002 and 2004.
Igawa, the Central League's 2003 MVP, has an 86-60 record with a 3.15 ERA. He would have to play in Japan for three more seasons before he could become a free agent.
The Boston Red Sox bid $51.1 million earlier this month to win the right to negotiate with Seibu Lions pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka, the MVP of the World Baseball Classic. The Red Sox have until midnight on Dec. 14 to agree to a deal with Matsuzaka and his agent, Scott Boras.
Also this month, the Tampa Bay Devil Rays won the rights to Japanese infielder Akinori Iwamura of the Yakult Swallows with a bid of about $4.5 million.