Hisashi Iwakuma to….Oakland?

marc w · November 8, 2010 at 9:39 am · Filed Under Mariners 

This weekend, we learned that Rakuten would accept the high bid for Iwakuma, then we learned that the high bid may have come from Oakland.
Today, Peter Gammons confirms that Oakland won the rights to sign Iwakuma. Some have speculated about a trade (possibly with Milwaukee), while others think the A’s just want some rotation depth. Either way, it looks like Oakland got its man.
While it stings to lose what looks like a solid starter to a divisional rival, I remember we were all pretty angry when Texas made a late push for Rich Harden and seemingly stole him from the M’s. How’d that work for the Rangers? Yes, yes, they cruised to the AL pennant and all that, and yes, the M’s were awful. But Harden was hurt and ineffective, giving the Rangers 92 sub-replacement level innings in exchange for a cool $7.5m.


39 Responses to “Hisashi Iwakuma to….Oakland?”

  1. Dobbs on November 8th, 2010 9:41 am

    And then in response to losing Harden, the M’s ended up signing Bedard…

  2. marc w on November 8th, 2010 9:43 am

    And then the M’s lost out on Ben Sheets.

    So, I guess everybody lost on that score.

    Who knew Colby Lewis would be a bigger off-season FA signing than Sheets/Harden/Bedard?

  3. Slurve on November 8th, 2010 9:43 am

    And then in response to losing Harden, the M’s ended up signing Bedard…

    And trading for Cliff Lee…

  4. Gibbo on November 8th, 2010 9:44 am

    and if you consider he will need 12-15 mill over 3 years, it’s still around 30M over 3 years so at 10 a year we can probaby do better.

  5. andrewjsnider on November 8th, 2010 9:45 am

    And it’s also a lot of money the M’s save and are able spend elsewhere in the international market. The umpteen million dollars we save could lead to some smaller signings that work out for us down the road!

  6. andrewjsnider on November 8th, 2010 9:46 am


  7. marc w on November 8th, 2010 9:49 am

    You’re right Gibbo – this isn’t cheap. But if he actually is able to be a healthier-Kuroda, that’s still a bargain. Still, there’s quite a lot of risk here for Oakland. On the plus side, this allows them to use Vin Mazzaro or another starter as trade bait. Or, his shoulder problems could be exacerbated by the move to a 5-day rotation and he could be a payroll problem for them in the out-years. We’ll see.

  8. spankystout on November 8th, 2010 9:58 am

    How can the A’s outbid everyone? They average 200 fans a game!

    I hope the rumored 13M bid is still available for Jack Z to spend.

  9. B13a on November 8th, 2010 10:10 am

    I think that money used to bid for Iwakuma (or any Japanese player posted) is separate from the team budget, so if I’m correct, it doesn’t really matter.

  10. spankystout on November 8th, 2010 10:20 am

    So is that money only for international free agents?

  11. lalo on November 8th, 2010 10:39 am

    So is that money only for international free agents?

    Yes, I think this fail is good for the M´s as they can sign Darvish the next season without problems of money, Iwakuma is good, but Darvish is a #1 in any team in MLB, Felix, Darvish, Pineda, is like Lincecum, Cain, Bumgarner after all

  12. Shrike on November 8th, 2010 10:53 am

    Pineda is *not* equal to Bumgarner – yet. Bumgarner has proven a lot in his short ML career; Pineda is just getting started.

  13. lamlor on November 8th, 2010 11:59 am

    So what is Iwakuma’s WAR rating?

  14. SonOfZavaras on November 8th, 2010 12:37 pm

    Unfortunate, but I say let Oakland have Iwakuma and do with him what they will.

    If we’re going to add an internationally-based arm, Yu Darvish is the one I want. Just hope the rumors that he wants to play in the major leagues in 2012 are true.

    And I have a lot of hope for guys like Michael Pineda and Blake Beavan. Plus, I don’t see how UCLA righty starter Gerrit Cole (or TCU lefty Matt Purke)isn’t the guy we pick at #2 in the draft.

    We stand a decent chance of our rotation being in fiiiiiine shape before long.

  15. marc w on November 8th, 2010 1:18 pm


    Tough to say; with anyone coming over from Japan, the WAR rating is going to be a fairly wide range.
    Maybe in the 1.0-3.0 range? That’s a decent mid-range projection, centered on league average. He’d have a chance to get up to the ~4 WAR that Kuroda and Pelfrey have hit, but with so much uncertainty and with his injury history, you can’t assume that.

  16. spankystout on November 8th, 2010 1:36 pm

    Well the M’s better save a lot more than 13M if they want Yu Darvish. But it would be a much better move than Iwakuma.

  17. flutieflakes on November 8th, 2010 1:56 pm

    At the very least, does this bid tell us that the Mariners are intending to spend the payroll space they possess this off-season on starting pitching?

  18. Chris_From_Bothell on November 8th, 2010 2:24 pm

    If we’re going to add an internationally-based arm, Yu Darvish is the one I want.

    I agree.

    Aren’t there also some good arms, and bats, to be had from South Korea? They had a strong showing in both WBCs, and they don’t have the silly posting system that Japan has… would be nice to see some fresh talent from Korea, with the international signing budget being seperate from the main payroll and all.

  19. marc w on November 8th, 2010 2:50 pm


    Yes, and the M’s have been active in SK for a while. Sung-Hyuk Han is the top prospect in Korea this year; Scott Boras snapped him up in May when he was a HS junior. The M’s signed one of the top position players in the country last year – C Ji-Man Choi.

    You’re right that the posting system can be frustrating and expensive, but the A’s are talking about a guy they can pencil into their rotation next year. In SK, we’re talking about 17-18 year old kids. Grabbing the mid-career guys from Korea who play in Japan (Chang-yong Lim) is tough – I think they’d have to be posted, per NPB rules.

  20. imiz11 on November 8th, 2010 3:33 pm

    Ok, let me be the first to break this:

    Tsuyoshi Nishioka!!!

    He is the SS for Japan Series Champs Lotte Marines, and he is seeking to come to MLB via posting system.

    Since Hiroyuki Nakajima couldn’t make it here this year.(due to his team not letting him go) AND since we lost out on Iwakuma sweepstakes… WE MUST GET THIS GUY!! if the Marines do agree to post him.

    Nishioka is coming off of a monster season:
    Played every game this season
    Matter fact, he didn’t miss an inning!!
    Became 4th player ever in NBP to reach 200hits in one season.
    Fluid Defense(more range, better arm than Nakajima)
    Only 26years old!
    AND a switch hitter!!

    It really hurts that we missed out on Iwakuma, as I think he will be a better version of Kuroda..(which is pretty good)

    But ultimately we need more offense!
    So please, can we lock this guy up if he becomes available…

    I mean.. a good switch hitting SS with good defense doesn’t come along too often..

    He idolizes Ichiro..(who from Japan doesn’t) but I’m sure that will be added motivation..

    I would like to see him hit 2nd in the line up.. and maybe move figgy down to the 9th hole.

    Or even something like Figgy leads off, Nishioka 2nd and Ichiro batting 3rd.

    Spend that “13 Million” on this guy!

  21. Leroy Stanton on November 8th, 2010 3:53 pm

    I’d really love to hear the theory behind this “special” money.

  22. Nate on November 8th, 2010 4:52 pm

    I think the theory involves a Japanese owner. Ichiro posted back in the day, and the money spent on obtaining those rights did not come out of the stated budget that year.

  23. roosevelt on November 8th, 2010 5:32 pm

    Sounds like Oakland is using their check from league wide “profit-sharing”. In other words money from the Yankees.

  24. teddyballgame9 on November 8th, 2010 5:33 pm

    Though he’s not as coveted as Iwakuma or Darvish, another guy i’d like to see the M’s go after is Chen Wei-Yin. He’s a Taiwanese pitcher who plays for the Chunichi Dragons (winners of the Central League this year) and according to the Japanese media, he is also interested in going to the Majors during the off season. He’s a hard throwing lefty who could probably slot into the #2 or #3 spot, and could probably be had for less than the two aforementioned pitchers. Here’s his Wikipedia page:

  25. teddyballgame9 on November 8th, 2010 5:56 pm

    oops forgot the link. here is Chen’s wikipedia page:

    And a YouTube clip of him pitching in 2009, the year he posted a 1.54 ERA.


  26. GarForever on November 8th, 2010 8:23 pm

    Tsuyoshi Nishioka!!!

    If he’s as good as advertised, he seems to be perfect. He adds offense, would play 2B and allow Figgins to move back to 3B (where he belongs), and — if Ackley makes it impossible for the M’s to keep him in the minors, Nishioka could move to SS. This seems tailor made for the team and the current roster…

    Are there any reasons to think he’s not as advertised? That’s not a rhetorical question: I’m interested in what other people think/know about him.

  27. Leroy Stanton on November 8th, 2010 8:33 pm

    Are there any reasons to think he’s not as advertised?

    Well, he had a career year in 2010 that was far better than his previous years. Then again, you might expect that at 26.

    I do agree with you though; he does seem like an awfully good fit.

  28. lalo on November 8th, 2010 8:34 pm

    Well, he had a career year in 2010 that was far better than his previous years. Then again, you might expect that at 26.

    I do agree with you though; he does seem like an awfully good fit.

    Agree, is perfect for the M´s, Jack should be interested in him right now, I prefer him over Wilson´s, Tui or somebody in the FA Market

  29. marc w on November 8th, 2010 9:10 pm

    I think the big issue with Nishioka is his injury history. Beyond that is the fact that his power and contact might not project well here, but when your incumbents are Jack and Josh Wilson, he’d probably be an upgrade. Still, that says a lot more about the team’s SS depth than it does about Nishioka.

  30. jordan on November 9th, 2010 12:42 am

    That Chen guy would get ROCKED in the MLB.

  31. jordan on November 9th, 2010 12:44 am

  32. joethewest on November 9th, 2010 12:57 am

    I wonder now if this puts us in a better position to sign SS Tsuyoshi Nishioka?

  33. KaminaAyato on November 9th, 2010 9:53 am

    Well, it looks to be pretty much set –

    Nishioka Tsuyoshi will be posted.

    So the question then becomes will the M’s aggressively go after him?

  34. spankystout on November 9th, 2010 10:11 am

    MLBTR is reporting that Nishioka will talk with his team, and the decision whether to post him, or not, will be made later this week.

  35. Carson on November 9th, 2010 11:09 am

    Getting way ahead of ourselves, and who knows how Tsuyoshi would transition.

    But, if he’s a .350+ OBP guy, what sort of lineup do you roll out once Ackley joins the show? It seems like a Figgins-Ackley-Ichiro-Smoak start with Tsuyoshi at 9th would be pretty sweet – if all are playing at potential.

    Then again, at that point, does the order matter?

  36. Mariners2620 on November 9th, 2010 12:40 pm

    Our two flashy acquisitions this off season will be a trade for Matt Garza, and we will pick up Dan Uggla.

  37. spankystout on November 9th, 2010 12:49 pm

    Ichiro and Guti won Gold Gloves! About time they recognize Franklin Gutierrez for being DTFT.

  38. joethewest on November 9th, 2010 12:49 pm

    Who knows how Tsuyoshi would transition?

    Who knew how Ichiro would transition?

    Uggla would be SICK. Not happening though.

  39. Chris_From_Bothell on November 9th, 2010 2:08 pm

    Guti really should have gotten the GG last year. I suppose it takes a year for reputation to get around…

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