A lot of nasty things have been said about Kei Igawa. I've said a fair number of them.
But something about his work at AAA has made me respect him.
It's easy to say that Igawa is just playing out his contract, collecting every penny of Brian Cashman's $20M/5 year mistake.
But his home got rocked by an earthquake, his friends and his family need him, and, knowing what it's like to live too far away to visit, I'm sure he misses them.
Why is he still playing baseball?
$20M isn't that different from $16M. So it's not the money.
He's been leapfrogged by a slew of more talented pitchers in the Yankee system, and Kevin Millwood is on his way as another low risk/ high reward veteran. So it's not a chance to play in the Bronx. And, if no one has traded for him in the last 4 years, does he really have any hope of getting to the Show with someone else?
I can only think of two other reasons: he doesn't know what else to do, or he loves the game enough to keep playing. On the other hand, I'd have to think that if Igawa asked for his release, and promised not to sign with another MLB team this season, that the Yankees would grant him that so he could go back to Japan.
I'd like to think it's love of the game, because that'll make it easy for me to root for him when I go to Scranton this season.