The A’s put up a $19 million posting fee last winter for the right to negotiate exclusively with Japanese righty Hisashi Iwakuma. The two sides failed to work out a contract, and that money was returned to Oakland after the 30-day negotiating period.
But now that Iwakuma is a free agent, Billy Beane and Co. are going to try again.
According to Joe Stiglich of the Contra Costa Times, the Athletics are “one of four teams” with interest in Iwakuma, who posted a 2.42 ERA and 90/19 K/BB ratio in 119 innings this past year for the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles of Nippon Professional Baseball. He registered a 2.82 ERA and 153/36 K/BB ratio across 201 frames in 2010.
Iwakuma, a native of Tokyo, stands 6-foot-3 and is listed at 170 pounds. He’ll turn 31 years old in April.
The Fernando Rodney Experience hasn’t been a good one for the Twins thus far. The veteran closer served up three runs in the bottom of the ninth inning to the Yankees on Thursday afternoon, erasing a 4-1 lead and blowing his third save in five opportunities.
In the ninth, Didi Gregorius reached on a throwing error by Miguel Sano. Giancarlo Stanton then singled, and Gary Sanchez followed up with a walk-off three-run home run.
Rodney, 41, now sports a 6.75 ERA on the year. He inked a one-year, $4.5 million contract with the Twins back in December. The club has an option for next year worth $4.25 million. If things keep going the way they’re going, the Twins aren’t going to want to pick up that option.
The Twins may even want to think about moving Ryan Pressly or Addison Reed into the closer’s role, even if just temporarily. Pressly has been terrific, tossing 13 scoreless innings with 18 strikeouts. Reed has a 2.25 ERA with 12 strikeouts in 12 innings.