A's land negotiating rights to Japanese pitcher Iwakuma
November 10, 2010, 9:06 pm TWN
OAKLAND, California--Oakland won the negotiating rights to Japanese pitcher Hisashi Iwakuma, the A's announced Monday, giving the Major League Baseball club 30 days to sign the 29-year-old right-hander.
The A's and American League West division rivals Seattle and Texas were said to be the three teams who submitted bids for Iwakuma to the Rakuten Golden Eagles of Japan's Pacific League.
“The Oakland A's are excited to have had our bid for Hisashi Iwakuma accepted by the Rakuten Golden Eagles,” the team said in a statement. “Out of respect for the posting process and for Mr. Iwakuma and his representative, we will not have any comment until the 30-day negotiation period comes to an end.”
While the amount of the A's bid was not revealed, the Eagles were expected to make more than US$16 million with the posting.
Iwakuma, a 10-season veteran of Japanese baseball, would join a strong A's pitching rotation, depth that could set up a trade for top batters who might be needed to make the A's a contender in 2011.
Iwakuma, who won 21 games in 2008, went 10-9 last season with a 2.82 earned-run average and nearly seven strikeouts for every nine innings he pitched in 2010.
In 2009, Iwakuma helped Japan win a second consecutive title in the World Baseball Classic, a national tournament featuring U.S. major league talent. Iwakuma pitched Japan past South Korea in the championship game.