There were rumblings early this week that the amount of time it was taking for the Dodgers to finalize the Hisashi Iwakuma deal was odd. I dismissed them as just the internet filling the post-Winter Meettings void with idle chatter. However, and keeping in mind it's very early and the primary report here is not in English so lost in translation, etc. here is this:
Jiji Press reporting the Dodgers backing out from Iwakuma after failed physical. https://t.co/JJ3MMEmWxI— Kazuto Yamazaki (@Kazuto_Yamazaki) December 17, 2015
I don't have any insider knowledge of Iwakuma's health, other than watching him his time in Seattle it's obvious he's not the most durable pitcher around. Whatever the issue it is apparently enough to have the Dodgers seriously re-considering 45 million dollars over three years to him.
Now I want to caution that we're a long ways from anything real happening here but if there was ever a time for rapid adjustment of plans and Jerry No Sleep to fly into action it is now. The Mariner rotation is by a wide margin the area of the team I am most concerned about. Felix/Walker/Miley/Karns/Paxton is just not enough to compete in an increasingly tough A.L. West. Iwakuma allows the team a softer cushion for almost inevitable attrition, and when healthy gives the team a much more respectable top 4 of Felix/Iwakuma/Walker/Miley. See? Look how much better that is.
With Iwakuma now potentially back on the market with not one but two black marks attached to him in the form of a failed physical and a compensatory pick to the Mariners for whoever signs him Seattle seems to make the most sense, both for the team and the player. Jerry Dipoto last week termed the current roster "our team" and appeared ready for Spring, pending a few minor additions. In addition we do not know the status of payroll, and some have speculated the team is unwilling to spend more money.
None of that matters now. This is a golden opportunity, and one that Dipoto and ownership should seize upon quickly and decisively. Effective leadership has a clear vision and the willingness to adapt that vision to a rapidly changing landscape. Hisashi Iwakuma was gone, and the Mariners moved quickly to replace. Now he many not be gone after all, and the team should move with similar decisiveness. No one expects Iwakuma to get anywhere near 3 years/45 million dollars now. If it involves the Mariners going slightly over budget I expect and, to whatever small amount it matters, kind of demand they approve it. This team hasn't made the playoffs in 15 years. The time for patience is over.
Go get him, Jerry. Bring back Hisashi Iwakuma.