Rakuten Golden Eagles Post Hisashi Iwakuma

The Rakuten Golden Eagles have officially committed to posting pitcher Hisashi Iwakuma, relays NPB Tracker's Patrick Newman on Twitter from multiple Japanese media reports.  Rakuten can file with the commissioner's office starting November 1st, after which point teams can bid for the exclusive right to negotiate with Iwakuma.  Iwakuma will be represented by Don Nomura, who previously served as the agent for Hideo Nomo and Hideki Irabu, among others.

Iwakuma, 30 in April, posted a 2.82 ERA, 6.9 K/9, 1.6 BB/9, and 0.49 HR/9 in 201 innings this year.  In August, Newman rated him as "the second best MLB pitching prospect currently active in NPB" in a FanGraphs article.  He described Iwakuma as "a fairly standard fastball/slider/forkball righty."

Japanese pitchers coming to MLB have been all over the place in recent years, even focusing on the more expensive ones.  Perhaps Iwakuma can emulate Hiroki Kuroda, who gave the Dodgers three years and 497 innings of 3.60 ball for $35.3MM.  Unlike Iwakuma, Daisuke Matsuzaka, and Kei Igawa, Kuroda did not require a posting fee.  I would not expect an excessive posting fee for Iwakuma, since the winner will also have to negotiate his contract on top.


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