2012 Pittsburgh Pirates Countdown to Spring Training: Ryota Igarashi
By Tom Smith
Pittsburgh Pirates Spring Training Preview: Non-Roster Pitchers.
Ryota Igarashi was known as Iggy
to fans of the M-E-T-S Mets of New York town. If he pitches like he did in his two seasons with the Mets, he isn’t likely to even make it out of Bradenton. After all, a pitcher that puts up six walks per nine innings like Igarashi did while with the Mets isn’t good for the stomach lining of the fanbase.
The 32-year-old Igarashi became a free agent due to a clause put in his contract two years ago. The clause let him become a free agent after his two-year $3 million dollar deal was up if Igarashi and the Mets couldn’t work up a new deal. The Mets certainly weren’t interested in working a new deal out, the Igarashi contract is one that the Mets want to forget.
The Bucs signed him to a split major/minor league deal.
Igarashi pitched 69 innings for the Mets and put up a radioactive-like 5.74 ERA. He pitched especially well in one month of his two year deal, this past July, after making an adjustment to his splitter. It was short lived however, when ‘the adjustment’ failed in August, when he gave up eight runs in 11 innings.
Remember last year when the Pirates sigend Jose Veras? We do. It worked out pretty well too. This deal seems a similar attempt by the Pirates to get a bounceback candidate for the bullpen at a discounted price for the Dollar General Bob Nutting.
Before signing with the Bucs, Veras threw 48 innings in 2010, struckout 54 and walked 29 with Florida.
Before signing with the Bucs, Igarashi threw 38 innings in 2011, struckout 42 and walked 28 with the Mets.
So Igarashi needs even more help than Veras did to get things turned around, and while we can’t be positive Igarashi can ever find the plate, it won’t cost much to determine if he can. He never had such problems when in AAA.
A video from the good times for Igarashi.
Igarashi was absolutely dominant in AAA where during one stretch last season had an ERA below 1 for Buffalo in twenty relief appearances. He walked just eight while striking out 31 and didn’t allow a run in ten straight appearances. But then he was called back to the majors and we know how that turned out for him.
An interesting article about the relationship Igarashi had with his interpreter Michael Peters. You know it’s bad when his interpreter, Michael Peters, became a more popular topic for writers in the NY media.
Best case: Igarashi hangs around as he continues to flash the ability to get the swing and miss the Pirates are counting on. If he can figure it all out, it won’t take long for Bucco fans to drop a respectful ‘F’ in front of his nickname. It has worked for Garrett Freakin’ Jones who Pirates fans call GFJ and their own Neil Walker is referred to as NFW.
Good Luck Figgy….