M’s Officially Sign Hisashi Iwakuma
As rumored a few days ago, the M’s have come to terms with RHP Hisashi Iwakuma on a one year contract. Per Jerry Crasnick, he’s guaranteed just $1.5 million in salary, and has incentives based on starts and innings pitched that could push the total value of the deal up to $4.9 million.
In other words, it’s a freaking steal. For context, he signed for less guaranteed money than Yuniesky Betancourt, Fernando Rodney, and Nate McLouth, all of whom were basically replacement level players last year. If he stays healthy and pitches well enough to make nearly every start all season long, he’ll earn about as much as Juan Rivera or Matt Capps.
We don’t really know what the Mariners have in Iwakuma, but at this price, there’s literally no downside. They’re paying him like he’s a mediocre middle reliever, and based on his previous history, he’s got at least some chance of turning into a mid-rotation starter. If he pitches as well as could reasonably be expected, they’ll likely have a +2 to +3 win pitcher for a fraction of his value. If he’s useless, well, then they’re out $1 million more than the league minimum.
This is about as good a deal as could have been hoped for to fill out the rotation, honestly. I would have been a fan of signing a guy like Chris Capuano or Jeff Francis, but given the price, this is pretty clearly the better option. The move offers the team rotation depth at no real cost, with the chance of giving them a pretty solid innings eater if things go well. And, given that he’s just 30-years-old, a successful first season could easily lead to an extension that could allow him to remain part of the rotation for the future as well.
There’s absolutely nothing to complain about here. A pretty terrific move for the organization, and one that can’t be seen as anything other than a positive.