The A’s won the rights to bid exclusively on Japanese right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma earlier this winter, but they balked at his initial asking price: a three-year deal worth about $12 million annually. And while negotiations have continued, it seems unlikely that an agreement will be reached by tonight’s midnight deadline.
According to Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle, the A’s would need to schedule a physical sometime today in order to finalize an agreement by this evening. No physical has yet been scheduled.
Iwakuma will head back to Japan for another year and attempt to pad his stats for another run at MLB free agency next winter. He posted a 2.81 ERA in 201 innings this year for the Rakuten Golden Eagles and experienced a career year in 2008 when he turned in a 21-4 record and 1.87 ERA to win the Pacific League MVP.
He’s only 29 and will draw heavy interest again next offseason if he makes himself available.
Fox 26’s Mark Berman reports that the Astros and third baseman Alex Bregman have agreed to $100 million contract extension. MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart confirms a deal has been reached and adds that the deal is actually for five years, beginning after the 2019 season. The contract will cover all three of Bregman’s arbitration years and two years of would-be free agency.
Bregman, who turns 25 years old later this month, has quickly become one of the best third basemen in baseball. Across parts of three seasons, he has hit .282/.366/.500 with 58 home runs, 208 RBI, 224 runs scored, and 29 stolen bases. FanGraphs credited him with 7.6 Wins Above Replacement, tied with Francisco Lindor and Christian Yelich for the fourth-best mark among position players in baseball, trailing only Mookie Betts (10.4), Mike Trout (9.8), and José Ramírez (8.0).
This is obviously a smart move for the Astros, as this contract extension will secure Bregman’s age 25-30 seasons. With second baseman José Altuve also locked up through 2024, and presumed extensions to come for Carlos Correa and possibly Gerrit Cole and George Springer, the Astros have a core that they can build around for years to come.