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Mariners sign Hisashi Iwakuma to a minor league deal

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The Mariners just announced that they have signed Hisashi Iwakuma to a minor league deal.

Iwakuma became a free agent earlier this month after the Mariners, not surprisingly, declined his $10 million option for 2018 after he made only six starts in 2017, posting a 4.35 ERA, 3.5 BB/9 and 4.6 SO/9 over 31 innings. That was primarily injury-related, however, as he went on the disabled list in May and never returned to action, undergoing arthroscopic debridement surgery in September.

Iwakuma, who turns 37 early next season, hopes to be recovered fully by spring training. Given the Mariners’ thin pitching staff, he stands at least a decent chance of making the team.

Royals, Alex Gordon close to contract agreement

Alex Gordon
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MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan reports that the Royals and outfielder Alex Gordon are “getting close” to an agreement on a one-year contract. Terms of the deal aren’t yet known, but the Royals could make it official within the next few days.

Gordon, who turns 36 years old next month, hit .266/.345/.396 with 13 home runs and 76 RBI over 633 plate appearances with the Royals this past season. His offense has waned, owning an adjusted OPS of 84 since 2016 (100 is average), but he still plays decent defense.

Gordon has spent all 13 years of his major league career with the Royals. With the club in a rebuilding phase, he will serve as the clubhouse leader and be a mentor to younger players on the roster.