Yesterday, we passed along reports that thewere going after Japanese free agent starting pitcher Hisashi Iwakuma. Iwakuma nearly came stateside a year ago before he and the Oakland A's failed to reach an agreement, and his skills remain largely intact. We concluded that Iwakuma would be an interesting and appealing add at the right price.
Today, we have this, from Sponichi and translated by Patrick Newman:
"We've received terms from a number of clubs, but considering where I'm needed and an environment my family can live in, at present we're closest to a contract with the Mariners," Iwakuma said.
It's hard to say how much this adds, but it definitely paints the picture of the Mariners being the favorite. So, before long, the Mariners could have a new starting pitcher on their hands. Or they could not, if things go wrong from here, since nothing is yet official. Iwakuma would be an interesting and appealing add at the right price.
I don't know what to say for the rest of this post, since I described Iwakuma like 24 hours ago, so...oh, hey, I've got it. A certain criticism of this move, if this move gets made, is that the Mariners should be focusing on their terrible run production, rather than their adequate run prevention. "Have you not seen this offense!" they'll exclaim. "This offense needs more than John Jaso!"
But, as the highly intelligent and moderately intelligent among you understand, the Mariners need to focus on improving however they can, wherever they can. The starting rotation is not great right now. It could be great before too long, but it is not a rotation that couldn't stand to be upgraded, and the Mariners apparently think of Iwakuma as a probable upgrade. That's good. We should be encouraging upgrades, provided they don't come at an unreasonable cost.
Besides, it's not like the Mariners only get one more move. They could add Iwakuma - or another starting pitcher - and also add a bat or two. I think the Mariners would openly admit that they'd like to boost the lineup, and the Mariners don't openly admit very much. Jack Zduriencik is the world's worst dinner company because he won't talk about what he wants to order until he orders.
Anyhoo, Hisashi Iwakuma. He could be a Mariner soon. Judgment will be reserved until Iwakuma makes a decision and terms are revealed, but for now it's just nice to have a rumor.