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.
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.