The trade saves the Rays from having to pay a $650,000 on Iwamura’s contract if they didn’t pick up his option.
The Pittsburgh Pirates have been plugging holes after trades for years, but filling the Freddy Sanchez void proved difficult.
On Tuesday, the team agreed to acquire second baseman Akinori Iwamura from the Tampa Bay Rays for reliever Jesse Chavez.
Iwamura was batting over .300 early last season for the Rays before sustaining partial tears of the anterior cruciate ligament and meniscus in his left knee. He returned in September and batted .290 for the season in 69 games. He was Tampa’s everyday second baseman when the Rays went to the World Series in 2008 and batted .274 with six homers, 48 RBIs and a .349 on-base percentage.
Chavez led Pittsburgh and all major league rookies with 73 appearances in 2009, going 1-4 with a 4.01 ERA in 67 1/3 innings. He was taken in the 42nd round in 2002 by Texas, and made his major league debut with the Pirates with 15 appearances in 2008.
The Rays think they have 2nd base plugged with Ben Zobrist. Maybe they do, but the team got shockingly little compensation for Iwamura. A run of the mill reliever was the best Tampa could do?
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