Bidding For Iwakuma Closes, Mariners The Favorite?

NPB Tracker's Patrick Newman passes along a report saying that the bidding has closed for Japanese righty Hisashi Iwakuma (via Twitter), and a report from Sports Hochi (article in Japanese) indicates that the Mariners appear to be the favorite to land him. More than one team submitted a bid, and Seattle reportedly wagered $13MM.

The above reports indicate that Iwakuma prefers the West Coast, but neither the Angels nor Dodgers planned to submit a bid. Both the Yankees and Diamondbacks scouted him during the season, though whether or not they chose to pursue him remains to be seen. The Rakuten Golden Eagles were hoping to land $16MM-17MM in the posting process, though it appears they might fall a little short of that.

The Mariners have a long history with Japanese-born players, none more notable that Ichiro Suzuki. In recent years they've also employed Shigetoshi Hasegawa, Kazuhiro Sasaki, and Kenji Johjima, among others.


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