LA Dodgers rumors indicate Hisashi Iwakuma has failed his physical with the team. Prior LA Dodgers rumors had Iwakuma as the solution after the team lost Zack Greinke in free agency. Now, a report out of Japan is stating that the team is backing out of this deal. This could be really bad news for the Dodgers, as most of the top free agent starting pitchers have already signed with other teams.
This news could be particularly damaging for Hisashi Iwakuma, as his former team, the Seattle Mariners, has nearly filled up its roster for the 2016 MLB season. Mariners MLB.com writer Greg Johns isn’t clear yet on how this will affect his overall market, but it certainly seems to indicate that his value in free agency is about to drop.
That isn’t quite the end of the L.A. Dodgers rumors, though, as a report from Dylan Hernandez at the L.A. Times states that the Dodgers “are not out” on Hisashi Iwakuma yet. Several guesses state that this could mean the team is looking to re-work the deal with Iwakuma and his agent, possibly at a much lower dollar value. It’s also possible that the franchise is looking to either shorten the deal or put some stipulations in it to protect against an Iwakuma injury or surgery.
On December 6, it was reported that Hisashi Iwakuma had agreed to a three-year contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers. The deal came two days after Zack Greinke decided to sign with the Arizona Diamondbacks and was reportedly worth $45 million over three seasons. It was a huge pay raise for Iwakuma, based on what he had made for the Seattle Mariners, indicating that the Dodgers had become desperate to sign a new No. 2 starter behind Clayton Kershaw. The team might now be in the market for a pitcher again.
In four seasons with the Seattle Mariners, Hisashi Iwakuma appeared in 111 games for the team. He posted a 47-25 record, 3.17 ERA, and 1.082 WHIP over 653 2/3 innings of work. Iwakuma only walked 1.7 batters every nine innings, and finished third in the 2013 American League Cy Young vote. When he became a free agent in the MLB offseason, the Mariners extended a qualifying offer that Iwakuma turned down. The Dodgers then quickly swooped in and agreed to a three-year contract with the veteran starting pitcher, presumably having a new pitcher for the 2016 MLB season.
If it does turn out that the L.A. Dodgers rumors are correct and the team is backing out of this deal with Iwakuma, it could lead to a flurry of action from the front office. If the report from the L.A. Times is correct, the team may still be in negotiations to sign him. Either way, this could lead to additional interest in free agent starting pitcher Mike Leake.
Leake has made 172 starts in his MLB career, spending most of his time with the Cincinnati Reds. In that time he has posted a 64-52 record, a 3.88 ERA, and a 1.271 WHIP over nearly 1,100 innings of work. The Dodgers had already been linked to Leake as another pitcher to add to the rotation, but the situation with Iwakuma may make it a necessity. This could also increase the value of Leake’s contract, as the St. Louis Cardinals had growing interest, as well.
The situation with Hisashi Iwakuma has not been addressed publicly by the front office in Los Angeles yet, so that could be coming at some point on Thursday, December 17. For now, there are going to be many L.A. Dodgers rumors about how the team is handling news of a failed physical, and how it will try to reconstruct a starting rotation for the 2016 MLB season. Dodgers fans may not get any real answers for a day or two.
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