The A’s won exclusive negotiating rights for Japanese right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma earlier this winter, but they were unwilling to meet his lofty contract demands and the 29-year-old has now re-signed with the Rakuten Golden Eagles of Nippon Professional Baseball. This according to Jason Coskrey of The Japan Times.
Iwakuma turned in a quality 2.81 ERA over 201 innings in 2010 for the Golden Eagles, equally strong numbers in 2009, and he had a career year in 2008 when he posted a 21-4 record and 1.87 ERA to win the Pacific League MVP.
He should draw a ton of interest next offseason if he again tries to test the MLB free agent waters and he may find a club that is more willing to pay him big money.
Iwakuma was asking for a salary of $11-$12 million per season in his negotiations with the A’s. Because of the pricey $19.1 million posting fee, Billy Beane and Co. were only willing to offer a four-year deal worth a total of $15.25 million. That fee has since been returned.
With Game 6 of the NLCS just hours away, the Dodgers will opt for a lefty-heavy lineup against right-hander Kyle Hendricks. Batting leadoff is rookie outfielder Andrew Toles, who made one appearance at the top of the lineup during the 2016 season. The Cubs, meanwhile, will bench Jason Heyward in favor of Albert Almora Jr.. This will be Almora’s first start of the playoffs, and while he has yet to face Kershaw in October, his right-handed bat could play well against the lefty at the bottom of the lineup.
Game time is scheduled for 8 PM EDT; lineups are below.
1. Andrew Toles (L) LF
6. Wilson Contreras (R) C
8. Albert Almora Jr. (R) RF
9. Kyle Hendricks (R) RHP
UPDATE, 5:08 PM EDT: Cubs’ manager Joe Maddon will not rule out a World Series appearance for Kyle Schwarber if the Cubs advance. MLB.com’s Carrie Muskat reports that Schwarber could play through a simulated game on Sunday, during which the Cubs’ medical and baseball staff would evaluate his chances for a late season return. If he does play, it will likely be in a pinch-hitting or DH role and not on the field.
Cubs’ outfielder Kyle Schwarber will return to the playing field on Saturday, per a report by the Chicago Tribune’s Mark Gonzales. The club’s prized left fielder suffered a season-ending injury when he collided with Dexter Fowler back in April, tearing both his ACL and LCL and undergoing intensive knee surgery later that month.
While no nerve damage was discovered during the surgery, the Cubs have kept a close eye on Schwarber during his recovery and put a kibosh on any part-time or full-time role with the team until the spring of 2017. Getting a few reps in during the Arizona Fall League appears to be the last step in the 23-year-old’s rehab process. He will be part of the Mesa Solar Sox’ ‘taxi squad,’ making him eligible for games on Wednesdays and Saturdays only.
Schwarber batted .246/.355/.487 with 16 in 69 games with the Cubs during his debut season in 2015. He will be added to the Mesa Solar Sox roster in advance of their set against the Salt River Rafters on Saturday evening.