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Oakland Athletics, Hisashi Iwakuma Unable To Reach Deal By Deadline

After negotiations went to the final hour, word is out that the Oakland Athletics and Japanese starting pitcher Hisashi Iwakuma were unable to reach an agreement on a contract. As the deadline approached over the last few days, a deal was not expected, particularly when Iwakuma remained in Japan. Had he thought a deal was close he would have flown to Oakland for a physical examination. CSN columnist Mychael Urban tweeted the news earlier tonight:

Iwakuma deal is ... Dead. #athletics tried; kid's agent is a loon. Bright side: $19 mil plus the contract was a bit much for a No. 3-4 guyless than a minute ago via Twitter for BlackBerry®

The team had put forth a $19 million posting fee and will get the fee back in light of the non-signing. Iwakuma will head back to Japan, but apparently will be a free agent next year. That would seem to indicate posting would be unnecessary. Susan Slusser tweeted that the A's would have interest in him in free agency next year. Rumors swirled that he wanted some fairly large numbers. At one point someone mentioned Barry Zito's contract. Iwakuma's agent denied that and later news was talking about $11-$13 million a year. Next year in free agency we'll see what kind of value he really has.

In light of the deal not getting done, some folks have questioned the Athletics decision to deal away fifth starter Vin Mazzaro. He was showing solid development last season and would have been an incredibly solid fourth or fifth starter for the A's, depending on if he passed Dallas Braden on the depth chart. However, the team acquired a very solid outfielder in David DeJesus who can slot into the top third of the batting order. The team had an excess of pitching and has some depth in the minors to fill the fifth spot, so it made sense to deal from depth to boost an offense that had a lot of struggles.