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Rays Win Right to Negotiate With Akinori Iwamura

Wow. For those who don't know, Iwamura is a 26-year-old, left-handed third baseman who's a star in Japan. He's hit at least 30 homers in each of the last three years, hitting .300 or better in all three years with solid walk totals. Why the Pirates weren't interested in a player like that is beyond me - he seems well positioned to succeed in their ballpark, and he plays a position where they have needs - but apparently they weren't involved in the bidding:

It appears Tampa Bay has won the bidding right for Japanese third baseman Akinori Iwamura. The Devil Rays reportedly outbid the Indians, San Diego and Boston for the left-handed hitter.

My point here is not to complain that it appears the Pirates aren't going to get Iwamura. My point is that it appears they didn't even try. Maybe Iwamura won't succeed in the majors, or maybe he'll be no better than Jose Bautista, but the Pirates' options at third next year so far are Bautista, who can play elsewhere, and Jose Castillo.

WTM in the comments to the last thread:

MLB is incredibly profitable right now, and it's going to be reflected in a crazy market this winter, probably the craziest since A-Rod and Manny got their huge deals.  Meanwhile, the Pirates' payroll will stay flat.  Their revenue is skyrocketing thanks to revenue sharing and central fund revenues, but with this ownership, they just keep falling farther and farther behind almost all of the other teams.

That sounds about right. The rumors of a Yuslan Herrera signing were promising, but I don't know why the Pirates haven't yet been involved in anything else this offseason. This doesn't mean that the Pirates should be players for every available free agent, but it would appear that Iwamura is exactly the sort of player who could help the Bucs, and yet they didn't even pick up the phone. And they lost out to the Rays, of all teams.