UPDATE: It’s over. Mychael Urban of CSN Bay Area and Jane Lee of MLB.com are reporting that the A’s have failed to reach an agreement with Hisashi Iwakuma. The club’s $19.1 million posting fee will be returned.
8:02 PM: The Athletics have until midnight ET to come to an agreement with Japanese right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma, but things don’t look good.
Jane Lee of MLB.com reports that the two sides have yet to talk today, while Athletics general manager Billy Beane said he would “it would be a surprise” if a deal was reached.
The A’s won the exclusive rights to negotiate with Iwakuma last month by submitting a $19.1 million posting fee. Some have suggested that the A’s may have made the bid in order to block the Mariners and/or Rangers, but their subsequent trade of Vin Mazzaro to the Royals is an indication that their interest was genuine. The more likely scenario is that Beane balked at Iwakuma’s asking price of $11-12 million per season. Hard to argue with that one.
While that’s tough news to take for A’s fans, the club is exploring a multi-year contract extension with Trevor Cahill, according to Buster Olney of ESPN.com. Cahill, who turns 23 in March, went 18-8 with a 2.97 ERA this past season. The young right-hander will not even be arbitration-eligible until next offseason, so the team will likely attempt to buy out his arbitration years and perhaps his first year of free agency. The team signed Brett Anderson to a similar deal in April.
CSN Philly’s Jim Salisbury reports that Phillies outfielder Nick Williams has been working out daily with free agent starter Jake Arrieta in Austin. The right-hander, who won the 2015 National League Cy Young Award, still remains teamless with spring training less than a month away. Williams has been trying to sell Arrieta on joining the Phillies.
Williams said of Arrieta, “He loves it here [Austin]. He has told me he likes working with young guys. I’m like, ‘All right, come on up.’ But I’m not writing the check. I don’t know what he wants. I don’t really dig into that because I’m not really in his position.”
On GM Matt Klentak’s hunt for pitching help, new manager Gabe Kapler said, “The pursuit is very real. I have a lot of trust that we’ll either go in [to spring training] with a new toy or we will pass on the opportunity because we’re better off giving this collection of pitchers a really healthy look because we thought that we could go acquire that piece a little bit later on this season or in the offseason next year.”
Arrieta, who turns 32 years old in March, went 14-10 with a 3.53 ERA and a 163/55 K/BB ratio in 168 1/3 innings last season with the Cubs. The Cubs, Cardinals, and Brewers have been linked to Arrieta this month.
Presently, the Phillies’ starting rotation figures to include Aaron Nola, Jerad Eickhoff, and Vince Velasquez along with some combination of Nick Pivetta, Ben Lively, Zach Eflin, Mark Leiter, and Jake Thompson. Arrieta would certainly amount to a big upgrade in the starting rotation and could make the Phillies a more attractive landing spot for Bryce Harper or Manny Machado, who become free agents after the 2018 campaign. The Phillies are expected to be in the mix for either or both players.