M’s Officially Sign Hisashi Iwakuma

Dave · January 5, 2012 at 6:20 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

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.


57 Responses to “M’s Officially Sign Hisashi Iwakuma”

  1. samregens on January 7th, 2012 4:17 pm

    Ed: “onetreehugger: Pretty sure Dave was talking to dantheman.”

    Maybe they are one and the same, since they seem to share the same weird anti-Ichiro (or anti-Japan) agenda.
    Although I could care less about such bashers and their agendas.

    Rationally speaking, what a nice signing. As others have post, the Mariners were able to get Iwakuma for much lower money than expected. 1.5 million guaranteed is a real steal. As Dave post, that’s less than what guys like Yuni got. The Mariners did well.

  2. samregens on January 7th, 2012 4:22 pm


    God I missed Johjima the last two seasons. He had a great season in Japan in 2010. Just compare Joh:

    2006-2009: .268/.310/.411

    to the Post-Johjima era at catcher:

    2010-2011: .220/.259/.369

    And that doesn’t even count his vastly better defense over what we had the last two seasons.

    Fully agree, I miss Johjima too. Rob Johnson and Olivo have been pretty bad.

  3. MrZDevotee on January 7th, 2012 8:05 pm

    Buster Olney was quoted today, in his “insider” column as saying:

    “The team most interested in Fielder — and most willing to pay big — is the Mariners. The question is whether or not he wants to play in Seattle.”

    It’s the “pay big” part that makes me happy rumors are by definition NOT… NOT!… facts. C’mon Washington Nationals, help a brutha out!!!


  4. MrZDevotee on January 8th, 2012 5:23 am

    Thanks to Jeff Sullivan for correcting a misleading ‘edit’ by MLBTradeRumors…

    I was quoting MLB Trade Rumors above, and don’t actually have ESPN Insider… Jeff noticed the same quote I did, and digging further (accessing the actual Insider posting) noticed where Olney ACTUALLY said:

    “but the most interested team — the team most willing to pay big — MIGHT be the Seattle Mariners.” (the all caps “might” put there by me)

    Might is a pretty big word in this case. The difference between speculating and stating something as a fact. So, with a greater body of evidence saying Z won’t overpay, I feel MUCH better after reading what Sullivan wrote.

    Thanks, Jeff!

  5. ripperlv on January 8th, 2012 9:50 am

    “”God I missed Johjima the last two seasons. He had a great season in Japan…””

    Let’s be real.
    He was good in 2006/2007. He was terrible in 2008 .227/.227/.332 (409)PA, and not so good in 2009 .247/.296/.406 (258)PA. His defense took a dive in 2008 also.

    Not that the catching has gotten better but remember that he was 33, he was regressing, and he was due 8 million a year for a couple years.

    Olivo (33) .224/.253/.388 in 2011 for 2.5 million. Not impressive, but 5.5 million dollars cheaper.

    I miss Dan Wilson.

  6. stevemotivateir on January 8th, 2012 10:10 am

    I keep seeing articles about Soriano possibly getting moved. Can’t help but wonder if there’s any chance in hell, that Figgins could be swapped for him. I wont hold my breath, but it makes a little sense. Lot of money owed to Soriano this year.

  7. stevemotivateir on January 8th, 2012 10:26 am

    ^I should add, that in a swap like that, the Cubs would obviously have to eat some salary. $54 million is still owed to him over the next 3 years (and we thought the Figgins contract was bad!).

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