Monday, January 24, 2005
Soxtalk.com - Iguchi Signs 2-yr $4.6M Deal
The forums at Soxtalk.com contain a thread that links to a Japanese newspaper report that second baseman Tadahito Iguchi has signed a two-year $4.6 million deal with the Chicago White Sox. Iguchi, after originally asking for Kaz Matsui-type money, apparently has accepted a contract that will pay him (roughly) his salary last year in the Japanese league.
So who is Tadahito Iguchi? He's a second baseman with decent power and (for the last couple of years) a very good batting eye. You can see his career statistics here. I have to say I'm excited by this move. Iguchi had OBP's of .438 and .394 in 2003 and 2004, respectively, and SLG of .573 and .549 in those same years. He hit .340 in 2003 and .333 in 2004, with 27 and 24 home runs. How will he do in the majors? Well, we only have other Japanese players to guide us. Here's Kaz Matsui's last three seasons in Japan, versus his first MLB season:
Here are Hideki Matsui's last three seasons in Japan and first two in the US:
Hey, why not Ichiro, too:
Three data points aren't quite enough to draw many conclusions. However, it seems as though when players come to the US, these things happen: (1) average goes down by 30 points or more; (2) OBP declines by a similar amount - OBP-AVG stays about the same; (3) slugging drops way down - by 100 points or more. I guess that means we can't expect a .330/.410/.580 season from Iguchi. At $2.3 million per, such a season would be a real steal. However, if Iguchi hits .280/.370/.450, he'd be one of the best second basemen in the league, and would be extremely cheap at $2.3 million. I think his price was restrained very heavily by Kaz Matsui's flop last year (although Matsui's AVG and OBP lines were pretty good for a shortstop), and the risk that he'll flop like Matsui did.
The bottom line is that the Sox's options at second base weren't that great. So I like the Iguchi signing...especially at this price. With the additions of El Duque, Jermaine Dye, Dustin Hermsanson, AJ Pierzynski, Scott Podsednik and Luis Vizcaino, I believe that Kenny Williams has shored up every hole in the White Sox with above-league-average performers. He's had an A+ offseason, as far as I'm concerned. I'll post an offseason wrap up in a bit.