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Iwamura deal sealed
Early Edition: The Rays complete their deal with Japanese infielder Akinori Iwamura.
By MARC TOPKIN
Published December 15, 2006
The Devil Rays on Friday made their first - and perhaps only - significant addition of the off-season, completing their deal with Japanese infielder Akinori Iwamura.
Iwamura is expected to get a three-year contract to be worth between $7.5- and $8-million. The Rays will also have a 2010 option on Iwamura, who will have the opportunity to be a free agent at the end of the deal.
Iwamura, 27, was a five-time All-Star in eight seasons with the Swallows, compiling a .300 average while hitting 188 homers and knocking in 570 runs. He had a sudden surge of power over the last three seasons, hitting 44 homers in 2004, 30 in 2005 and 32 last season, though he is not expected to hit for as much power against major-league pitching.
The Rays aren't sure exactly how they will use Iwamura. He won five Gold Gloves at third base, but the Rays are considering moving him to second. That, though, could be predicated on trading Jorge Cantu or shifting him to first.