Various sources confirm that Oakland has secured exclusive negotiating rights with Japanese right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma and Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that “the A’s winning bid was in the $15 million range.”
Oakland will pay that “posting fee” to Iwakuma’s team in Japan only if the two sides are able to agree on a contract and there’s a 30-day deadline for negotiations. Iwakuma does not get any of the posting fee, so he’s on his own to work out a separate deal.
Slusser speculates that signing Iwakuma would motivate the A’s to shop their various young starting pitchers, which means Vin Mazzaro, Gio Gonzalez, and Dallas Braden may soon be available “for a big bat.”
The Baltimore Orioles are terrible and going nowhere fast, so they decided to do some shuffling of the decks today.
One part of that was to called up catcher Caleb Joseph, which was the corresponding move to sending down Chance Sisco the other day. Joseph will now be big league teammates with brother Corban. Aww.
Another thing they did was to purchase the contract of Steve Wilkerson from Triple-A Norfolk. He’s a utility guy who has been swinging a hot bat after getting a late start to the season due to a 50-game drug suspension. Good for him, but that’s bad news for Pedro Alvarez, who was designated for assignment in the corresponding move.
Alvarez, 31, started the season well but has been atrocious for most of it. His line on the year is .180/.283/.414 with eight homers, but he’s been far worse than that for over a month. The 2013 NL home run champ will now go through waivers and, at the end of that process, likely have to choose between free agency or a trip to Norfolk. And, given that it’s the worst team in baseball sending him packing, there’s a good chance that it could be the end of the big league road for him.