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A’s and Hisashi Iwakuma unlikely to work out a deal

Dec 5, 2010, 12:39 PM EDT

Hisashi Iwakuma

The A’s won the rights to bid exclusively on Japanese right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma earlier this winter, but they balked at his initial asking price: a three-year deal worth about $12 million annually.  And while negotiations have continued, it seems unlikely that an agreement will be reached by tonight’s midnight deadline.

According to Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle, the A’s would need to schedule a physical sometime today in order to finalize an agreement by this evening.  No physical has yet been scheduled.

Iwakuma will head back to Japan for another year and attempt to pad his stats for another run at MLB free agency next winter.  He posted a 2.81 ERA in 201 innings this year for the Rakuten Golden Eagles and experienced a career year in 2008 when he turned in a 21-4 record and 1.87 ERA to win the Pacific League MVP.

He’s only 29 and will draw heavy interest again next offseason if he makes himself available.

  1. mtner77 - Dec 5, 2010 at 1:30 PM

    A lot of people in the PNW feel that this was simply a blocking move by Oakland. They knew that Seattle had great interest in Iwakuma. With the M’s past history with Japanese born players, they would probably have had little trouble signing him either.

    Since the posting fee is refundable if you do not sign the player, the A’s knew that they simply had to over-bid on the posting fee and then offer a rediculously low contract that the player would never sign. They had no intention of signing Iwakuma, but this way their division rival doesn’t get him and it didn’t cost the A’s a dime. MLB needs to look into how the posting fee system works.

  2. apbaguy - Dec 5, 2010 at 2:06 PM

    I don’t agree that the A’s were blocking here. I mean, who cares if Seattle had an interest? They are no threat next year with their lack of offense.

    On the other hand, Beane did have a price in mind when he bid. And Iwakuma felt he deserved a much higher price. But reality for Japanese starters suggests that a lower risk pricing strategy is wiser.

    Finally, the A’s trade of Mazzarro strongly suggests the A’s fully expected to have Iwakuma in their rotation next year.

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