BY SPNW Staff 01:02PM 11/27/2017

Mariners sign Iwakuma to minor league deal

Hisashi Iwakuma, 36, a free agent who made only six starts because of shoulder problems, agreed to a minor league deal with the Mariners Monday.

Shoulder problems limited Hisashi Iwakuma to six starts last season. / Drew McKenzie, Sportspress Northwest

The Mariners Monday signed RHP Hisashi Iwakuma to a minor league contract and invited the former starter to spring training. Iwakuma became a free agent after the World Series and will be attempting a comeback after spending most of the 2017 season on the disabled list.

Iwakuma, 36, went 0-2 with a 4.35 ERA with 16 strikeouts and 12 walks in six starts in 2017. He was placed on the 10-day DL with right shoulder inflammation May 10 (retroactive to May 7) before being transferred to the 60-day DL July 24. Iwakuma underwent arthroscopic debridement surgery Sept. 27.

In 2016, Iwakuma went 16-12 with a 4.12 ERA with 147 strikeouts and 46 walks in 33 starts. His 16 wins are a career high, and he led the club in wins (16), starts (33), innings (199) and strikeouts (147).

Among American League leaders since 2012, Iwakuma ranks fifth in walks per nine innings pitched, sixth in winning percentage (.618), eighth in ERA (3.42) and strikeout-to-walk ratio and ninth in wins (63).

The Tokyo native has spent his entire six-year MLB career with the Mariners, compiling a record of 63-39 with two saves and a 3.42 ERA with 714 strikeouts and 185 walks in 150 appearances. On Aug. 12, 2015 vs. Baltimore, Iwakuma tossed the fifth no-hitter in club history (fourth individual no-hitter).

Mariners off-season transactions

Oct. 31: Outrighted RHP Casey Lawrence to AAA Tacoma.

Nov. 2: Claimed INF/OF Andrew Romine off waivers from Detroit; reinstated RHP David Phelps and LHP Drew Smyly from the 60-day disabled list; announced that 1B Yonder Alonso, OF Jarrod Dyson, INF Gordon Beckham, C Carlos Ruiz and 1B Danny Valencia had become free agents; declined 2018 options on RHPs Hisashi Iwakuma and Yovani Gallardo.

Nov. 3: Claimed INF Zach Vincej off waivers.

Nov. 7: Outrighted Vincej to Tacoma.

Nov. 14: Hired Jim Brower as an assistant coach.

Nov. 15: Acquired INF Ryon Healy from Oakland in exchange for RHP Emilio Pagan and and INF Alexander Campos.

Nov. 27: Signed RHP Hisahi Iwakuma to a minor league contract and invited him to spring training.


  • jafabian

    Good deal for the M’s. Should have done the same with Smyly.

    • Husky73

      Smyly is still on the Mariners’ 40 man roster. He may be ready to pitch after the 2018 all star break. Lots of pitchers have come back successfully from TJ surgery. Who knows?

      • jafabian

        I know. I’m saying they should have waived Smyly and brought him back on a minor league deal.

  • Husky73

    Kuma has bounced back once before. However, he is older now. There really is no down side, and he may even help with Ohtani.