Grant Balfour wins the A’s closer job

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Last week Bob Melvin said that the closer battle was between Brian Fuentes and Grant Balfour.  Melvin announced today that Balfour is his huckleberry.

This was really a battle between a Proven Closer and, you know, the better pitcher, with Fuentes being the former and Balfour the latter. Fuentes had problems last year. Balfour was better, throwing 62 innings with a 2.47 ERA and 59/20 K/BB ratio.

The Mariners have made an offer to bring back Hisashi Iwakuma

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Hisashi Iwakuma tells the Japan Times that the Mariners have made him an offer to return.

Iwakuma became a free agent earlier this month after the Mariners, not surprisingly, declined his $10 million option for 2018. Iwakuma says that it’s “not a done deal,” but “hopefully I will be able to make a positive announcement soon.”

Iwakuma, who turns 37 early next season, made only six starts in 2017, posting a 4.35 ERA, 3.5 BB/9 and 4.6 SO/9 over 31 innings. He went on the disabled list in May and never returned to action, undergoing arthroscopic debridement surgery in September. He hopes to be recovered fully by spring training.