Padres, Yankees working on Igawa deal

Updated: August 10, 2007, 9:04 PM ET
By Buster Olney | ESPN The Magazine

The San Diego Padres came close to finishing a deal for Kei Igawa in mid-July. But they're taking another shot now, with the odds probably in the range of 50-50.

San Diego was awarded a waiver claim for Igawa, and now the Padres and the New York Yankees have until 2 p.m. Tuesday to work out a deal for the left-hander.

The Yankees paid a $26 million posting fee for Igawa last fall and then signed him to a five-year, $20 million contract. The Padres would be on the hook only for his salary, and none of his posting fee, if they land the left-hander. But it is unlikely that the Yankees will simply give Igawa to the Padres for nothing; the Yankees asked for relief pitching when the two teams discussed a possible deal in July.

Although Igawa has been a tremendous disappointment for the Yankees, going 2-3 with a 6.79 ERA, many scouts who tracked him in Japan thought he would be effective as a No. 4 or No. 5 starter. One talent evaluator said Friday that he thinks Igawa would fit much better in the NL -- and particularly in San Diego's Petco Park, a place better suited for pitchers.

If Igawa rebounds, the Padres would have an experienced starting pitcher for a very moderate salary in the current market, at $4 million per year.

Buster Olney is a senior baseball writer for ESPN The Magazine.

Buster Olney | email

Senior Writer, ESPN The Magazine