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Impact Analysis: Akinori Iwamura to the Pirates

Dave Cameron and R.J. Anderson have broken the news on the regular blog, but if you haven’t heard, the Pittsburgh Pirates are in the process of acquiring Akinori Iwamura from the Tampa Bay Rays for reliever Jesse Chavez.

Dave and R.J. have already discussed the value to their real life teams, but what does this do for Iwamura’s fantasy value? Assuming the deal is finalized without any problems, a move to the National League always seems to help a hitter, but because “Aki” isn’t a power threat, the impact will be minimal.

Iwamura probably isn’t draftable unless you’re in a deep or AL/NL only league. However, the addition of a .355 OBP player could help Garrett Jones, Lastings Milledge and Andrew McCutchen‘s RBI opportunities, bumping them up slightly in the rankings. Also, the addition of a solid defender should help Pirates starters such as Zach Duke and Paul Maholm, as Delwyn Young wasn’t doing them any good at their second base during the second half of 2009.

On the Rays side, this move shows their commitment to using Ben Zobrist as their primary second baseman in 2010, giving him more of a defined role. As R.J. mentioned, Willy Aybar and Sean Rodriguez could also see time, but don’t expect them to give you anything of value with it.

As far as Chavez goes, I wouldn’t worry about him. He’s a mop up guy who shouldn’t be used in high leverage situations, making his fantasy value as close to zero as you can get.