Let's start with a quick announcement from Jerry Dipoto who not only wakes up early but goes to bed late:
Jerry Dipoto delivers a special gift to the front office at the #Mariners holiday party: Kuma is back. pic.twitter.com/8Bo8Y93ub2— Seattle Mariners (@Mariners) December 18, 2015
Thanks, Jerry. Back to the news.
*EDIT* PLEASE PLAY THE FOLLOWING AS YOU CONTINUE TO READ
Today we were all made aware of a growing development that increased the availability of a certain ex-Mariner named Hisashi Iwakuma. While we will never know just how long ago he failed his physical, that information was released today. What seems more likely is that this was known to Jerry and His Excedrin much earlier than any of us heard about it and that his team jumped on the chance to acquire a talented pitcher. As of this moment, the money is unknown but the contract looks something like this:
The Mariners announce they have re-signed Hisashi Iwakuma to 2016 contract with vesting options for 17 and 18. Kuma is back.— Shannon Drayer (@shannondrayer) December 18, 2015
That is three years of Kuma in the bag.
A quick, napkin analysis of this move tells me several things. The first is that payroll has increased for 2016. The second is that this team is deeper at the starting pitching level than I can ever remember it being. A starting five of Felix, Kuma, Karns, Walker, and Miley is a knockout rotation. The third is that this pushes the team from a team in the mix for a wildcard spot, to maybe a favorite for the postseason. Of course, stuff has to go right for that to happen, but, and this is shocking so sit down, things have to go right for any team to make the playoffs. Wowooweewow.
To make a long story short, losing Kuma hurt all of us even though we all sort of knew it was a potential outcome. Kudos to the ownership for jumping on this as quickly as they did, and clearly due to the short time it took, The Bear is happy to be back. It's almost like we never said, "Goodbye."
We will analyze all this later on and what it means for this team going forward. But right now, I am happy and it is late and I know where the booze is. Drink. Be merry. The Bear is back. Celebrate.