Hisashi Iwakuma will be returning to the Seattle Mariners on a one-year contract, as the Los Angeles Dodgers decided to withdraw their three-year, $45 million contract offer after issues arose regarding Iwakuma’s physical.
Iwakuma resigning with the Mariners marks the latest disappointment for the Dodgers in what has been a truly unfortunate off season for Los Angeles, which began with them losing out on Zack Greinke to their divisional rival, the Arizona Diamondbacks. Then more recently, the Dodgers were set to acquire closer, Aroldis Chapman from the Cincinnati Reds last week, only to have the deal fall apart when the All-Star closer became a subject of a domestic-violence investigation by the commissioner’s office.
According to a person familiar with the situation who spoke under the condition of anonymity because the sensitive nature of the talks, said the Dodgers and Iwakuma continued to negotiate into the week. It’s believed the Dodgers were looking to restructure the contract with Iwakuma.
The Dodgers were looking forward to adding Iwakuma, who would’ve been the only right-handed starter in their rotation that consist of Clayton Kershaw, Brett Anderson, Alex Wood and Hyun-jin Ryu. However, a new deal with Iwakuma never materialized.
Instead, Iwakuma decided to resign with the Mariners, for whom he pitched in each of his four major league seasons. Iwakuma’s new contract with the Mariners, includes vesting options for 2017 and 2018.
With the Dodgers losing out on Iwakuma, they do retain their first-round pick in the draft next year. They would have had to forfeit their pick if they had signed him.
The Dodgers uncertainty regarding Iwakuma, probably factored into the Wednesday acquisition of the three prospects from the Chicago White Sox who could be used as part of a package to trade for a young starting pitcher, such as Jose Fernandez, Sonny Gray or Carlos Carrasco.
The Dodgers are paying a refundable $20 million posting fee to negotiate with another Japanese right-handed pitcher, Kenta Maeda, according to a person familiar with the Dodgers thinking. Maeda won the Japanese league’s version of the Cy Young Award this year.