The Oakland Athletics are reporting that they have won the bidding process that allows them to now negotiate with 29-year old Japanese starting pitcher Hisashi Iwakuma. By winning the bidding process, the A's now have exclusive negotiating rights with Iwakuma and his agent Don Nomura for the next thirty days. If they can't make a deal in the next month they lose their posting fee. This comes on the heels of Nomura's tweet yesterday afternoon:
岩隈さん Oakland Athletics!!!!
Nomura is a well known agent of Japanese starters, with Iwakuma being just the latest in his stable of Japanese stars. Iwakuma was 10-9 with a 2.82 ERA with 6.9 strikeouts per nine innings in 2009. In 2008 he won 21 games with a 1.87 ERA and pitched for the Japanese team in the 2009 World Baseball Classic.
It's being reported that the posting fee for Iwamuka was approximately $16 million, although specifics have yet to be known. Given the A's need for big bats, any deal for Iwamuka would put the team in line to deal some pitching for a potential bat. One possibility is inking Iwamuka to a long term deal and then trading him. On the other hand they could sign Iwamuka and then move one of their plethora of starting pitchers for the necessary bat(s).
With $20 million and change potentially coming off the books this offseason, they certainly have money to spend. The question becomes when will the other shoe drop. There are no guarantees anything will happen, but it would seem to be a misappropriation of resources if this move was not followed at some point by a trade of starting pitching. We'll see how this plays out in the coming months. Maybe a big deal at the Winter Meetings? Who knows...
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