Jun 21, 2010, 12:44 PM EDT
General manager Neal Huntington said yesterday that “a small number of teams have expressed mild interest” in Akinori Iwamura after the Pirates designated him for assignment last week.
However, according to Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette “a trade remains far from certain” and “it’s extraordinarily unlikely that any team would assume more than the required $300,000 or so of Iwamura’s remaining $2.93 million.”
Huntington has said that he’d like to trade Iwamura to give him a chance for playing time elsewhere, but if a deal can’t be worked out the Pirates figure to retain him at Triple-A. Iwamura has the right to refuse an assignment to minors if he clears waivers, but doing so would require forfeiting the rest of his contract and he seems particularly unlikely to pass up a couple million bucks when another big payday now looks like a long shot.
Iwamura has plenty of experience at second base and third base, so in theory he’d be a decent fit as a utility man for a contender, but he’s looked several steps slow defensively since returning from knee surgery and lost his starting job to rookie Neil Walker after hitting just .182 in 54 games.
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