Hisashi Iwakuma will be under contract for 2015, that much we know. For a mere $7 million, the Mariners have exercised their option of Iwakumka to retain him for one more season before he becomes a free agent. Interestingly enough, Ryan Divish points out that Iwakuma's option vested based on performance, which is a detail of his deal that nobody was aware of before today. It's always interesting when we find out major assumptions we've had about contracts are wrong, though this one falls into a mostly inconsequential category.
While some have tossed around the idea of tearing up Iwakuma's 2015 option deal and offering him a longer extension, the Mariners aren't doing that, at least not yet. Iwakuma's preseason finger injury and his late season struggles might have given the Mariners a bit of pause to offering up a longer extension, though a mere $7 million for 2015 is a no-brainer.
Iwakuma holds the 5th best ERA in the American League over the last three years despite his bumps this year, and keeping him around long-term will be a fascinating future decision for the Mariners considering his past of questionable health and age, as Iwakuma enters his age-34 season. Does the loyalty factor come into play? Would Iwakuma want a long-term deal or prefer to go with shorter deals, like Hiroki Kuroda has?
It's certainly possible there's some cultural impact here in regards to loyalty, but it would be a mistake to say anything even remotely conclusive about where Iwakuma wants to be and the type of deals he wants to sign. He did re-sign in Seattle fairly quickly the last time around, and thinking Iwakuma might do the same going forward isn't irresponsble, but it is still a hunch and nothing concrete.
Of course, there's always the possibility the Mariners turn around and shop Iwakuma on his very affordable 2015 contract, using him to fill other holes on the roster. This isn't news, really. It's just confirmation we were all right about assuming he'd be back on an option most of us were wrong on.