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Why Are the Mets Messing with Igarashi?

By Mike Silva ~ March 19th, 2010. Filed under: Mike Silva, New York Mets.

I was perusing Dave Lennon’s postgame notes and came across this nugget:

The Mets may have found a set-up man in Ryota Igarashi – now that they have stopped messing with his head. After trying to get him to change his grip on his curve ball, and then teaching him a slider, the Mets have decided to just let Igarashi pitch his way. As a result, Igarashi is pitching with more attitude, and it showed Thursday night in his strikeouts of Dan Uggla and Cody Ross. Igarashi just relied on his splitter and fastball, which reached 95 mph on the gun.

Igarashi even said “it felt good to get back to his style of pitching.” Bigger question: Why were the Mets messing with him anyway? The last time he added a pitch was 1999 and this spring the Mets wanted him to abandon his curveball and learn a slider. Practice is important to Japanese player and often they will not use a pitch in a game till its perfected. Igarashi even said earlier this spring that learning the slider would be very difficult for him. An American player would push back on the coach, but in Japan they are taught to be deferential to management.

Why sign a 30 year old veteran from Japan and treat him like a college draftee? The point of paying good money for Igarashi should be because you believe he was a finished product and could transition to the States. Of course, he might need to make adjustments, but if the overhaul was that severe perhaps they should have invested the money elsewhere.

It’s hard enough to ask someone to come to a new country and league. They are adjusting to the language, food, and being away from home. Is it necessary to add additional pressure as well? Let him pitch his way and see the results. If it’s not good enough then make the adjustment.

I am starting to question Dan Warthen who, despite some success in late 2008, has seen pitchers like Mike Pelfrey, Oliver Perez, and John Maine regress under his watch. Injuries are part of that equation, but this story gives me reason to question his philosophy. One of the main reasons I don’t feel comfortable with Mejia learning on the big league level is because of Warthen and Manuel. Basically I don’t trust their judgment.

I am, however, biased and would prefer to see Rick Peterson back in New York.

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Mike Silva has hosted sports shows on 107.1 FM Champions ESPN Radio Long Island ,1240 AM WGBB , Blog Talk Radio and live from Mickey Mantle’s Restaurant. He’s also built and maintained two popular social media hubs: New York Baseball Digest and Sports Media Watchdog. Mike has broken national and local stories, as well as been mentioned on the YES Network, SNY.tv, WFAN, Sports Illustrated, ESPN, NY Daily News, New York Magazine, Journal News and the NY Post. Contact Mike professionally at mikesilvamedia.com

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1 Response to Why Are the Mets Messing with Igarashi?

  1. Greg Pomes

    The Mets just don’t have smart baseball people working on this team. This is the same group of people who made Wright change his approach at the plate last year

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