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A’s break off talks with Japanese righty Hisashi Iwakuma

Nov 21, 2010, 4:32 PM EDT

iwakuma with blue glove

A bit of a shocker here.

Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that talks have “broken off” between the A’s and Japanese right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma.

The A’s bid $15 million in early November for the right to negotiate exclusively with Iwakuma, but Slusser says that he was looking for “Barry Zito type” money and Oakland declined to take that risk.  Zito landed a seven-year, $126 million from the Giants before the start of the 2007 season.

Iwakuma, 29, posted a 2.81 ERA in 201 innings this year for the Rakuten Golden Eagles.  He had a career year in 2008 when he registered a 21-4 record and 1.87 ERA to win the Pacific League MVP.

The righty will head back to Japan for 2011.  If he again posts great numbers, he could try to break into Major League Baseball next winter.

Oakland traded starter Vin Mazzaro to the Royals this fall for outfielder David DeJesus with the idea of making room in the starting rotation for Iwakuma.  They do have some depth, but it’s quite possible that GM Billy Beane will be active on the free agent market this winter in order to fill the hole left by Iwakuma’s decision.  If the A’s don’t add a starter, Bobby Cramer, Josh Outman and Tyson Ross will probably battle for the final rotation spot in spring training.

  1. Jason @ IIATMS - Nov 21, 2010 at 5:09 PM

    whatttttt??? Zito-type money as a posted Japanese player with zero MLB experience? On what planet is this guy (and his agent) from, exactly?

    • The Baseball Idiot - Nov 21, 2010 at 5:55 PM

      ANy word that Boras is his agent?

  2. tomemos - Nov 21, 2010 at 5:37 PM

    Are we sure that the A’s didn’t post for him just to keep other AL teams from getting him?

    • seattlej - Nov 21, 2010 at 5:40 PM

      Why would they start that now with this guy? BBs been the GM for a while… if that were the case, why not do that with Matsuzaka a few years ago? Or any number of other Japanese players that have been posted in the last few years.

      Though I do admit. The fact that they A’s get there money back does seem like a huge loophole in this process.

  3. proudlycanadian - Nov 21, 2010 at 5:38 PM

    I am sure that Oakland also thought that at that price they could not risk Zito type performance.

  4. jobooo - Nov 21, 2010 at 10:11 PM

    So does Oakland still have to pay the $15M?

    • BC - Nov 22, 2010 at 10:12 AM

      Yeah. They paid the $15 mil just to be able to negotiate.

      • BC - Nov 22, 2010 at 10:39 AM

        Apparently I was wrong. See my comment on the other Iwakuma post in this blog. Could have sworn the Dice-K fee was not refundable. Maybe its case by case?

  5. apbaguy - Nov 22, 2010 at 1:09 AM

    If Oakland had known he wanted Zito money would they have traded Mazzaro? Possibly. The A’s believe that Outman is a credible starter, but no doubt Beane has a plan B. They’ve been stockpiling pitching. The problem is no offense.

  6. BC - Nov 22, 2010 at 10:13 AM

    After the Dice-K thing, it’s going to be a long time before any team – especialy Oakland – pays 100 kajillion dollars to a Japanese pitcher that has a tons of innings on his arm.

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