From ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick comes word that the Mariners have signed Japanese right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma to a one-year, $1.5 million major league contract. The agreement also carries another $3.4 million in performance-based incentives.
Iwakuma, 30, registered a superb 2.42 ERA and 90/19 K/BB ratio in 119 innings last season for the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles of Nippon Professional Baseball. He posted a 2.82 ERA and 153/36 K/BB ratio across 201 innings in 2010.
The A’s tried to sign Iwakuma last offseason, offering up a $19 million posting fee for exclusive negotiating rights, but the two sides ultimately failed to work out a major league contract. If everything goes well in spring training with the Mariners, the 6-foot-3 native of Tokyo should grab a spot at the back end of the Seattle starting rotation.
The White Sox won’t make a bid for free agent outfielder Bryce Harper, Bruce Levine of 670 The Score reports. Believed to be the favorites to land shortstop Manny Machado in free agency, the White Sox watched him ink a 10-year, $300 million contract with the Padres. The club is apparently content with its roster otherwise.
Harper would certainly be an upgrade in the outfield, which currently features Adam Engel, Nicky Delmonico, and Jon Jay. It will soon feature prospects Eloy Jiménez and Luis Robert.
Last season, Harper hit .249/.393/.496 with 34 hom eruns, 100 RBI, 103 runs scored, and 13 stolen bases in 695 plate appearances. He led all of baseball, drawing 130 walks. Harper is also a six-time All-Star who won the 2012 NL Rookie of the Year Award and the 2015 NL Most Valuable Player Award.
The Phillies are still believed to be the favorites to sign Harper and the club is confident it will land him, Matt Breen of the Philadelphia Daily News reports.