Hisashi Iwakuma pitching

UPDATE: A’s also in the mix for Hisashi Iwakuma, Rangers may have bid too low

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2:04 PM: More intrigue from Rosenthal. He tells us that the Athletics also submitted a bid for Iwakuma and that the Rangers’ bid may have actually been too low. According to Rosenthal, the A’s would like to add Iwakuma in order to acquire a hitter from their surplus of starting pitching.

1:15 PM: According to Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com, the Rangers may have the highest bid for Japanese right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma. Last night, a Japanese media report suggested that the Mariners were the front-runners.

While we still have no official word about who has the highest bid, Rosenthal confirms that the Rangers did indeed make a bid and writes that it’s possible other AL West clubs are involved. Stay tuned.

10:21 AM: Still no confirmation that the Mariners actually have the highest bid for Iwakuma, but Larry Stone of the Seattle Times tells us that the Golden Eagles have until next Thursday to decide whether to accept the winning bid. If they do, the MLB team can begin negotiations with Iwakuma.

Friday, 11:00 PM: Patrick Newman of NPB Tracker tweets that the bidding for Japanese right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma has closed, with more than one team submitting a bid. According to MLB Trade Rumors, a report from Sports Hochi says that the Mariners are supposedly in the lead with a bid of $13 million.

Iwakuma’s team, the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles, were hoping for a posting fee around $16-17 million and they reserve the right to reject the winning bid.

Many consider Ikakuma to be the second best pitcher in Japan behind Yu Darvish. The 29-year-old right-hander has a 2.82 ERA and 153/36 K/BB ratio over 201 innings this season. He earned the Pacific League MVP when he went 21-4 with a 1.87 ERA in 2008 and turned some heads stateside by posting a 1.35 ERA and 15/6 K/BB ratio over four games (three starts) in the World Baseball Classic last year.

Mitt Romney’s sons are trying to buy a stake in the Yankees

TAMPA, FL - AUGUST 30:  Tagg Romney son of Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney gives an interview during the final day of the Republican National Convention at the Tampa Bay Times Forum on August 30, 2012 in Tampa, Florida. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney was nominated as the Republican presidential candidate during the RNC which will conclude today.  (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
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Mitt Romney built his professional life in Massachusetts and was once the governor of the state. As such, it is not surprising that he has long identified as a Red Sox fan. So this has to be troubling to him from a fan’s perspective. From Jon Heyman:

The Romney family is bidding to buy a small stake in the Yankees months after their try for the Marlins stalled. If the deal goes through, it is expected to be $25 million to $30 million per percentage point and thought to be interested in one or two percentage points. The Yankees are valued around $3 billion or more.

The effort is being led by Mitt’s son Tagg, one of his brothers and their business partners. Mitt’s spokesman tells Jon Heyman that he has nothing to do with it personally. Tagg Romney is reported to have been planning a bid for controlling interest in the Marlins, but that has fallen through.

I find this interesting insofar as the M.O. for the Steinbrenners has, for years, been to buy out minority shareholders in the Yankees, not seek more. Indeed, when George Steinbrenner bought the Yankees back in 1973 he held just a bare controlling interest and there were a ton of silent partners, most of which were back in Ohio and knew Steinbrenner from his shipping business. I’ve personally gotten to know some of them over the years as there are a handful of them in Columbus and I crossed paths with them in my legal career. They have almost all been bought out in the past couple of decades. They still get season tickets and World Series rings and stuff. You can tell them by their personalized Yankees plates and the fact that, within the first ten minutes of meeting them, they will tell you that they once owned a piece of the Yankees but got pushed out.

In light of all of that it’s interesting that the Steinbrenners are once again accepting bids for small stakes in the team. Especially from someone whose interest in controlling the Marlins suggests that they do not consider it to be a mere vanity investment. Makes me wonder what the Steinbrenners’ long term plans are.

Max Scherzer still can’t throw fastballs

WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 13: Max Scherzer #31 of the Washington Nationals works against the Los Angeles Dodgers in the fifth inning during game five of the National League Division Series at Nationals Park on October 13, 2016 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
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The Nationals will be many people’s favorites in the NL East this season. Not everything is looking great, however. For example, their ace — defending NL Cy Young winner Max Scherzer — can’t even throw fastballs right now.

The reason: the stress fracture he suffered last August is still causing him problems and Scherzer is unable to use his fastball grip without feeling pain in his right ring finger. He will throw a bullpen session tomorrow, but will only use his secondary stuff.

Scherzer has not been ruled out for Opening Day — the fact that he is throwing some means that his timetable isn’t totally on hold — but you have to figure, at some point, not being able to air things out and use his heater will lead to some problems in his spring training routine.