A bit of a shocker here.
Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that talks have “broken off” between the A’s and Japanese right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma.
The A’s bid $15 million in early November for the right to negotiate exclusively with Iwakuma, but Slusser says that he was looking for “Barry Zito type” money and Oakland declined to take that risk. Zito landed a seven-year, $126 million from the Giants before the start of the 2007 season.
Iwakuma, 29, posted a 2.81 ERA in 201 innings this year for the Rakuten Golden Eagles. He had a career year in 2008 when he registered a 21-4 record and 1.87 ERA to win the Pacific League MVP.
The righty will head back to Japan for 2011. If he again posts great numbers, he could try to break into Major League Baseball next winter.
Oakland traded starter Vin Mazzaro to the Royals this fall for outfielder David DeJesus with the idea of making room in the starting rotation for Iwakuma. They do have some depth, but it’s quite possible that GM Billy Beane will be active on the free agent market this winter in order to fill the hole left by Iwakuma’s decision. If the A’s don’t add a starter, Bobby Cramer, Josh Outman and Tyson Ross will probably battle for the final rotation spot in spring training.
It was assumed already, but Mike Scioscia made it official during Monday’s press conference for new general manager Billy Eppler that he will return as Angels manager in 2016.
Scioscia, the longest-tenured manager in the majors, has been at the helm with the Angels since 2000. There was a clause in his contract which allowed him to opt out after the 2015 season, but he has decided to stay put. He still has three years and $15 million on his contract, which runs through 2018.
Jerry Dipoto resigned as Angels general manager in July amid tension with Scioscia, so there were naturally questions today about what to expect with first-time GM Eppler in the fold. According to David Adler of MLB.com, Scioscia isn’t concerned.
“I think we’re going to mesh very well,” Scioscia said. “If we adjust, or maybe he adjusts to some of the things, there’s going to be collaboration that’s going to make us better.”
Eppler is the fourth general manager during Scioscia’s tenure with the team.
After winning the AL West last season, the Angels finished 85-77 this season and narrowly missed the playoffs. The team hasn’t won a postseason game since 2009.
Astros center fielder Carlos Gomez sat out the final series of the regular season in order to rest a strained left intercostal muscle, but there was good news coming out of a workout today in advance of Tuesday’s Wild Card game vs. the Yankees.
This has been a lingering issue for Gomez, who missed 13 straight games with the injury last month. He aggravated the strain on a throw to home plate last Wednesday and was forced to sit while the Astros fought to keep their season alive. Astros manager A.J. Hinch told reporters last week that Gomez’s injury would typically take 45-50 days to recover from, so it’s fair to wonder how productive he can be during the postseason.
Gomez mostly struggled after coming over from the Brewers at the trade deadline, batting .242 with four home runs and a .670 OPS over 41 games.