The Hisashi Iwakuma Timetable

gently caress - Joe Nicholson-US PRESSWIRE

If you're like me, you're waiting for the Seattle Mariners to make legitimately interesting news. If you're not like me, you might still be waiting for the Seattle Mariners to make legitimately interesting news. Waiting on the Mariners to do something interesting is not conditional upon one resembling blogmaster and famous person Jeff Sullivan. The Mariners did recently hire a hitting coach, but that news isn't really interesting to the fan base. The Mariners did recently hire Brant Brown, but that news isn't really interesting to Brant Brown's family. We want things to happen with the roster. Good things, hopefully, but things, at least, because even bad things or unpleasant things can get our minds off whatever they were on.

Which brings me to the latest Greg Johns mailbox over at Mariners.internet.com (all URLs should include the word "internet" I think just so you always know where you are). Last season, for the first time, the Mariners employed Hisashi Iwakuma. They even used him for a part of it. Iwakuma is set to become a free agent, now, and though in the past he's expressed interest in returning, he's also more recently played it coy. We figured the Mariners would make a push to bring Iwakuma back, given their dearth of quality starting pitching; many figured we might not have an answer for some time. About that:

But there's one catch with Iwakuma: If he and the Mariners don't reach an agreement by Saturday, he will be granted his release and become a free agent. But if Seattle were to then re-sign him after that, he wouldn't be eligible to play until May 15, which means he'd miss the first six weeks of the regular season.

The Mariners, then, will presumably either sign Iwakuma very soon, or not sign Iwakuma at all. On the open market, teams would be bidding for a full 2013 season of Hisashi Iwakuma, while the Mariners would be bidding for three-quarters of a 2013 season. That leads to different valuations, and that I can only imagine leads to Iwakuma going elsewhere. It doesn't make sense for the Mariners to end up in a situation where they can't use a starter for six weeks out of the gate.

Of course, let's say the 2012 Mariners couldn't have used Iwakuma until May 15. They would've needed to plug eight innings over three games, two of them blowouts. I know we can't just keep referring back to Iwakuma's ridiculous early usage pattern since everybody already remembers it, but for a couple months Iwakuma was basically a treadmill in the attic. Hey, that's convenient, I can work out at home. But ehh I don't really want to.

I expect that the Mariners will re-sign Iwakuma, and I expect them to do so not long after this post is published. I don't mean within like 15 minutes, but if you live in Seattle, and if you were to book an immediate trip to South Africa, then by the time you arrive in South Africa, I expect that Iwakuma would have re-signed. I don't see any reason why this shouldn't happen. The Mariners inarguably have a need for a starter like Iwakuma. Iwakuma says he's quite comfortable here, and his family likes the city. Iwakuma's health history will keep him from breaking the bank, while Iwakuma's 2012 success in the rotation will get him fairly compensated. He'll make his guaranteed millions, and he and his family will live comfortable lives, unless something happens that money can't prevent, and of course those things happen all of the time. Our lives are so fragile.

I'm guessing the Mariners re-sign Iwakuma for two guaranteed years. Maybe three guaranteed years, or two years with a team or vesting third-year option. The money should be substantial without being absurd, and Iwakuma should deliver as long as he's healthy, which of course he might not always be. He's got that shoulder, see, and if it weren't for his shoulder thing, he wouldn't be so affordable. He might not have ever played for the Mariners.

So, Hisashi Iwakuma and the Mariners. It'll probably happen soon. Iwakuma will join Felix Hernandez, Jason Vargas, and Erasmo Ramirez in a thin but not dreadful rotation. "What of Blake Beavan?" you might ask. "What of Blake Beavan?" you might ask again, after I don't respond. "WHAT OF BLAKE BEAVAN?" you might shout, convinced I'm ignoring you. I'm not ignoring you. I hear your words. I hear your words loud and clear.

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