BY SPNW Staff 08:46PM 12/06/2015

Report: Dodgers to sign free agent Iwakuma

For four seasons, when he was healthy, Hisashi Iwakuma performed at an All-Star level. But now it appears that Iwakuma is heading to the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Hisashi Iwakuma was all grins after his no-hitter Aug. 12. / Alan Chitlik, Sportspress Northwest

The Los Angeles Dodgers, who lost ace Zack Greinke in free agency to Arizona, were responding by nearing agreement on a deal to sign Hisashi Iwakuma Sunday night, according to multiple media reports from the MLB winter meetings in Nashville. The Mariners’ No. 2 starter the past season is said to be getting a three-year deal, one more than the Mariners were prepared to offer.

Iwakuma, 35 in April, spent the past four seasons in Seattle. He was 47-25 with a 3.17 ERA in 653.2 innings, with 551 strikeouts and 127 walks.

He finished third in Cy Young voting in 2013, his best year when he was an All-Star with 14-6 with a 2.66 ERA and 1.01 WHIP. He also threw a no-hitter Aug. 12. He joined Seattle as a free agent after 11 seasons in Japan.

Iwakuma’s time on the disabled list the past two years presumably was a part of Seattle’s reluctance to go to three years. And the Dodgers’ willingness to throw money — in 2015, they were MLB’s first team to exceed $300 million in player payroll — was another discouragement for Seattle, which spent about $125 million in player payroll last year.

A year ago, the Dodgers gave $48 million over four years to pitcher Brandon McCarthy.

General manager Jerry Dipoto said a priority was to re-sign Iwakuma, but now it looks like a new plan will emerge as meetings begin Monday.


  • jafabian

    I’m surprised the M’s weren’t willing to go 3 years. Typically when an MLB team signs a veteran free atogent they assume they won’t get production for the full term of the contract. They assume they’ll get it for about half. For example, they know they won’t get ten years of All-Star numbers from Cano but if they get five years they can live with it or they know they can find a team to take on at least part of his contract later on. That being said, Kuma’s departure really hurts the rotation. Were the season to start today Walker would be the #2 pitcher. For the team to at least compete for a .500 record Dipoto will need to either do a trade or sign a FA. David Price is being shopped but the M’s have very little to offer for him. Wish the club went after John Lackey when he was still a FA.

    • art thiel

      See above for why the 3-year risk isn’t worth it.

  • Rj Smith

    Yeah…… David Price is NOT being shopped by anybody, he just signed as a FA with Boston for $217mil. Iwakuma hasn’t officially signed YET, there is a deal in place. I would imagine he is giving the M’s an opportunity to match. Given his lack of durability/age & the absurd amount of payroll he will eat up, the M’s might be better off letting him walk, taking the draft pick & signing somebody else without draft pick compensation attached. Cueto or Kazmir for example…..

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    • art thiel

      Because of the hard miles pitchers accumulate early in Japan, and because of his injury rate the past two years, I get why the Mariners see that an expiration date for Iwakuma draws near.

      • Rj Smith

        I’m totally on board with letting him walk, 3/$45mil at his age & limited innings history is insane. With the $ saved in salary dumps of BUMbo & LAMO, plus minus Iwakuma, they should be able to get Cueto, all while not losing a pick. That would in theory give the M’s 5 power SP’s, not even counting Elias, who will be needed when Paxton goes on the 60 day DL with a bad haircut.

  • Rj Smith

    It appears the M’s have just acquired LH SP Wade Miley & a minor leaguer for Elias & Carson Smith. I really don’t like giving up TWO major leaguers for this return. I think DiPoto is trying too hard to dump ALL of Trader Jack Z’s guys & may not be getting maximum value in return. Reports have them interested in 1B Adam Lind from Milwaukee. Most likely see Zunino, Peterson, or Jackson moved in a deal like that….. the M’s are about out of decent prospects & ML pieces to deal.

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  • Mavis Jarvis

    We’ll miss Iwakuma, but multi-year deals for old pitchers with injury histories usually don’t work out well. Dipoto is right to take a pass.

  • Just Another Bullwhip

    I almost posted on another one of your stories Saturday that he was going to be signed by the Dodgers and that it was going to be announced formally on Tuesday. This was before any press outlets had it.