The Seattle Mariners and Japanese starting pitcher, Hisashi Iwakuma have reach an agreement on 1 year contract worth $1.5 million guaranteed with incentives that could push the deal to $4.9 million. According to Geoff Baker those incentives are tied to innings pitched, games started and individual awards.
We profiled Iwakuma earlier this week so there aren’t a ton of new matters to address. As we concluded the success of a possible Iwakuma deal would come down to the terms. Contracts don’t get much more team friendly than one year with double the guaranteed salary in incentives. He performs, he gets paid. Also, all of the concern regarding Japanese pitchers making the transition to the major leagues is removed with the one year deal. In a way, it’s a win-win for both the team and the player (but to be honest, the deal has tremendous upside for the M’s). Iwakuma gets the chance to perform stateside, about as close to Japan as you get, without committing long term in case he doesn’t like it, and as we said above, the Mariner’s assume very little risk (other than a small financial investment) in this deal. If he performs and the front office decides to extend Iwakuma you’d also have to believe the team has a leg up in that department just as they did in these negotiations.
The Mariners wanted to add a veteran arm to the rotation and this may or may not be that arm. The terms of the deal allow the M’s to continue shopping if they’d like both Charlie Furbush and Blake Beavan to start in AAA. Either way, depending on if they want to break up the right handed starters, the Mariners acquired a very successful Japanese starter, who will more than likely be the number 3 or 4 starter this season.
Do you like the Mariners signing of Hisashi Iwakuma?