Oakland Breaks Off Talks With Iwakuma

4:58pm: Slusser writes that the figure Iwakuma was said to be seeking was including the posting fee. She also notes that Iwakuma wasn't looking for the same number of years as Zito, just the same annual salary. Oakland, on the other hand, was thinking somewhere along the lines of a $3MM-$5MM salary.

The A's are also looking for a power hitter, and one thought was that signing Iwakuma could have made Oakland a more appealing destination for Hideki Matsui.

Slusser says she recently spoke with a scout who saw Iwakuma pitch in Japan, and described the 29-year-old as "Nothing special. Just a guy." With Iwakuma presumably out of the picture, Slusser says a healthy Outman would be the frontrunner for the fifth starter job. The 26-year-old lefty was having a strong season in 2009 before he underwent Tommy John surgery and missed all of 2010.

3:38pm: The Athletics have broken off talks with Hisashi Iwakuma, according to this series of tweets from Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle.

While the A's will have until December 7 to make a decision on Iwakuma, Slusser's sources have told her that Iwakuma was seeking something similar to Barry Zito's seven-year, $126MM contract with the Giants to sign in Oakland, which the A's are obviously unwilling to do. Iwakuma is preparing to announce his return to the Rakuten Golden Eagles at an upcoming fan fest.

If Iwakuma's demands don't come down, the A's will be down one fifth starter option, having traded Vin Mazzaro to Kansas City in exchange for David DeJesus. Slusser says the A's will then approach the season with Josh Outman, Tyson Ross, and Bobby Cramer as fifth starter candidates, barring a free agent signing of course.

It's not unthinkable that the A's would venture to free agency to find a suitable replacement; they clearly have the money to spend on pitching should they see fit. Oakland bid around $17MM to win the rights to negotiate with Iwakuma, but that amount will be returned if no deal is reached.

98 Responses to Oakland Breaks Off Talks With Iwakuma Leave a Reply

  1. TytheSportsGuy 5 years ago

    Iwakuma is crazy.

    • Reaper87 5 years ago

      This sounds like he was on the fence about jumping the Pacific and decided he only would come over if he got noticeably overpaid

    • Dave_Gershman 5 years ago

      April fools?

  2. Well, now that they traded Mazzaro and this guy thinks he deserves ZITO money, who will they get for a number 5 starter? I feel like they would be in on Jon Garland or Freddy Garcia, guys who pitch to contact in front of good defense.

    • or webb/ de la rosa.

    • letsgogiants 5 years ago

      They have many in-house options for that 5th spot as Adams mentioned. They have Tyson Ross, a 2nd rounder two years ago who made the opening day roster this year as a reliever. Ross, 23, has a fastball that can go low to mid 90s and has good secondary stuff as well. They also have Josh Outman, who came as part of the Joe Blanton deal a couple years ago. The left hander started out the season well in 2009 in the A’s rotation but had to go through Tommy John surgery that kept him out for most of the 2009 season as well as the whole 2010 season. He is, however, expected to be back and fully healthy come spring training. There is also Bobby Cramer, a 31 year old who pitched well in the Mexican league and in triple A before being called up in September. He pitched well in a small sample with the A’s and should be at least get a chance to earn that 5th pitching spot in spring training.

  3. Looks like they did this to block the M’s and Rangers from signing him. Just saying.

    • Seattle didn’t even bid for the player.

    • melonis_rex 5 years ago

      Because the Mariners or Rangers would’ve offered him the contract he is supposedly seeking.

      If the Rangers were shopping in that market, they should go ahead and sign Cliff Lee, who we know can dominate MLB hitters (we know no such thing of Iwakuma).

    • sportsfan07 5 years ago

      Because obviously those 2 teams will give him $18 million annually plus the posting fee of $16 million. Right…………………..

      • they both bid for him but weren’t the high bid.

        • sportsfan07 5 years ago

          You just said the only reason the A’s bid was to try and block the Mariners and Rangers. My argument to that is that do you really believe even if they won the bid they would pay him the money that Barry Zito is getting on his contract? Obviously Oakland disagrees as well. If his demands come down to about 6-7 million I would say this contract gets done because that’s about on par for what I personally believe he should get.

          • exactly, it is a win win that way. I think this is one of many reasons that the A’s are in on Beltre, to block the Angels from signing him.

          • sportsfan07 5 years ago

            But they really aren’t trying to block anyone. They wanted to build depth at a desirable position so that they would have leverage in the trade market. The reason they want Beltre is because they have not had anyone producing a whole lot at 3B since 2006 which is the last season that Chavez was healthy. It’s not for blocking people but it is a move to improve the team.

          • I don’t think you are getting the point, They want Beltre AND they don’t want the Angels to get him. 2 value add’s for them. I am not saying they don’t want Beltre, last year they matched the Phil’s for offering him the most money but he wanted a 1yr deal to rebuild value. As far as saying they haven’t had anyone of value at 3b since 06, what do you call a WAR of 2.9 and UZR of 16.1 from Kouz this past year? I am sure many teams would have liked to have had that.

          • sportsfan07 5 years ago

            Most of that WAR comes from his defense and that isn’t really adding too much value from past guys. Guys like Hannahan were great defensively as well but they just didn’t hit as many home runs. Kouz is not living up to what we thought he would do and that is basically what I’m saying. Chavez was the last guy to bring true value out of the 3B position. And yes I agree about the scheme for dual reasons of blocking teams and getting your guy but from your original statement it seemed like you are trying to say the only reason why the A’s bid on Iwakuma is because they wanted to block the Mariners and Rangers.

          • woadude 5 years ago

            Or the A’s have an actual interest in such said player, they offered Beltre a 3 year deal and he chose a 1 year deal to make his stock rise, and they did this to actually get a pitcher, only they didnt know he was delusional in what he is worth…you do know that the A’s are a real team and have real interest in players right?

  4. MEMO121989 5 years ago


  5. YanksFanSince78 5 years ago

    He should be allowed to negotiate with the next high bidding team. Otherwise what’s keeping any team from submitting a ridiculously high bid and then negotiating half-heartedly to sign him just to prevent others from signing him? There’s no penalty if they don’t sign him is there?

    • sportsfan07 5 years ago

      How could you even say that they bid to not sign the guy? Obviously they are not going to come to a deal if he wants Barry Zito type of money. The A’s won the posting fee posting up a number not even 1/3 of Matsuzaka’s posting fee and Matsuzaka agreed to a contract that is worth $10 million less than Zito’s annually.

      • TDKnies 5 years ago

        He never said they did it to block anybody, but he did pose the hypothetical situation that a team could potentially do that under the current rules system (or that’s the impression I’ve gotten after reading this thread). I’m sure Oakland bid on him hoping to sign him and simply balked at his asking price, but what if it was a different player with less crazy demands and some team won the bidding and then they give him a half-assed offer and he doesn’t take it? Different situation, same result. No other interested teams get to try to sign the guy.

        • sportsfan07 5 years ago

          I interpreted as he thinks that Oakland bid just to block the Mariners and Rangers

          • YanksFanSince78 5 years ago

            Yeah I was speeking more in hypothetical terms moreso than saying this what the A’s were doing.

          • sportsfan07 5 years ago

            Ok I just mistaken it because I thought it was weird that someone would talk about blocking another team even though the thread is about Iwakuma’s ridiculous demands.

    • mattchu12 5 years ago

      Agreed. Reading that above comment about the Athletics blocking the Rangers and Mariners opens up a whole can of worms that I hadn’t even thought about. That’s just ridiculous that Iwakuma would ask for that kind of deal, and if the A’s did that, that’s even worse.

      • sportsfan07 5 years ago

        If they did post the fee just to block other’s then why would they trade Mazzaro for Dejesus when they know that they could have packaged Mazzaro for a package much bigger than Dejesus? Also would you really pay an unproven guy the salary of an elite player? There is no point in signing the guy if he thinks he is on the same level as people like Cliff Lee, CC Sabathia, Johan Santana and such when he hasn’t even proven it yet.

        • mattchu12 5 years ago

          There’s no question that I wouldn’t pay Iwakuma anything close to Zito, Lee, Sabathia, or Santana. All I was saying that if teams are going to start putting in top bids just to block other teams, we’re about to see the Posting System fall apart.

          • YanksFanSince78 5 years ago

            The player posted should be forced to declare a minimum contract fee almost like a seller does in an auction bid.


            Iwakuma is seeking a contract with a 3 year minimum and a base salary of “x”.

            If a team feels like the terms being sought are too steep then they can choose not to bid on the posting fee. If a team then posts a winning bid but isn’t willing to pony up the contract (assuming a physical is passed) then they lose their posting fee bid and lose rights to the player and the player moves to whoever posted the 2nd highest bid.

          • moonraker45 5 years ago

            that takes any leverage from the mlb team away.. Any player could say 5 years at X amount and you either pay it or don’t?? Contract negotiations can’t work like that..

            Int’l players should be subject to team control rules in which they are paid a maximum contract of lets say 3 million per year, plus incentives if the team chooses too. Call it an entry level contract.. that way players cant demand such outrageous amounts, they have to earn it just like all the players here

        • YanksFanSince78 5 years ago

          Mazzaro isn’t anything special and to get someone bigger than DeJesus then what was added probably wouldn’ve been much more than Mazzaro is to the deal.

          • sportsfan07 5 years ago

            Yes I understand that he isn’t anything special after watching him but he is a former top prospect and someone may have bitten on him if he were packaged with other prospects like Green or such (just a hypothetical situation, I think Green is untouchable right now). Mazzaro would be the centerpiece, somewhat prospect, SP that is MLB ready talent. That holds a lot of trade value to any team.

    • chaifetz10 5 years ago

      There’s nothing…except for the fact that the team loses the entire fee they paid to negotiate with him. The A’s paid a hefty price just to talk to him ya know.

      • SrMeowMeow 5 years ago

        Not true.

      • Do they really? I thought they get the posting fee refunded if they’re unable to sign him. IIRC, this was the case in the Daisuke negotiations.

      • Reaper87 5 years ago

        No they didn’t. The money is given up as a fee only if he is signed. If no deal goes through, it’s like nothing ever happened

      • azdsnd 5 years ago

        C’mon, think about it a little. If this were the case, would anybody post more than, what, half a million bucks? Why give the player every ounce of leverage in negotiations right off the bat?

    • briantalletsmoustache 5 years ago

      The highest posting fee doesn’t have to be accepted. Presumably the team that posted the player will want to do due diligence to make sure that the bids are sincere so that they get the posting fee. Negotiating in bad faith is a pretty good way to not have your bid accepted in the future by a Japanese team.

  6. Possibly, but a “Zito like” contract for a fifth stater in a small market like Oakland is INSANE!!!!

    • YanksFanSince78 5 years ago

      The player has the right to ask for what they want but they have ZERO control on what team actually wins the rights to negotiate with them. It’s a system that is flawed on both sides. Big difference between a team like the Angels winning the bid as opposed to the Pirates (assuming that would ever happen of course).

    • A “Zito-like” contract for a fifth starter in ANY market is INSANE.

    • A “Zito-like” contract for a fifth starter in ANY market is INSANE.

  7. myname_989 5 years ago

    My goodness, what is Yu Darvish going to ask for when he comes to the MLB!?

    • vtadave 5 years ago

      Probably 10 years, $220 million or so. Seriously.

  8. wickedkevin 5 years ago

    Why compare yourself to another player who has completely failed to meet their contract expectations?

    Iwakuma: I believe I deserve a similar contract to that of Barry Zito.
    Oakland: Yeah, and look how that turned out.
    Iwakuma: …
    Oakland: …

  9. Slopeboy 5 years ago

    Who does he think he is ?… Derek Jeter ?

  10. More likely, Iwakuma just didn’t want to play for the Oakland Athletics…

    • Shikikazu 5 years ago

      Most Asian players (Korea,Taiwan,China,Japan) look to play for LA (either) or Seattle fanbase wise otherwise its Red Sox or Yankees.

    • melonis_rex 5 years ago

      That’s a horrible way to make that statement clear though. All kinds of damages working relationships and leaves the wrong impression (both between Iwakuma/Rakuten and Iwakuma/MLB teams).

  11. The A’s can find a fifth starter, I was never crazy about this guy but I don’t know much about him.

    • johnsilver 5 years ago

      Why not just resign Justin Deuscherer (spelling)?

      • melonis_rex 5 years ago

        If he gives the A’s 10 starts, they will be lucky.

        • Agreed, but say those 10 starts are at the beginning of the year, giving time for Ross, Outman, and Cramer to show who deserves the 5th spot in AAA, he would probably be worth the incentive laden deal he is going to get.

        • I’d be ok with it. It’d give Outman/Ross/Cramer to hone pitches and/or prove their healthy.

  12. patrick_mccaw 5 years ago

    Do we know the Zito comparison was part of the actual negotiations? If it was just the reporter adding it, isn’t that colouring our reaction? What if the analogy was to Matt Holliday or Johan Santana?

    • William S 5 years ago

      Its the dollar amount that is ridiculous. Only one poster has suggested that the agent using Zito was stupid, which obviously it would be, but I doubt it happened.

  13. RepOak 5 years ago

    Barry zito didn’t deserve Barry zito money. Another bone head giants contract…”cough” rowand

    • YourBase 5 years ago

      The Giants won the World Series.

      • They probably wouldn’t have if Zito was starting in Bumgarner’s spot in the rotation.

      • Yes, with Zito off of the playoff roster and Roward rotting on the bench. Just because they won it doesn’t make up for two bad contracts. They won despite them.

        • YourBase 5 years ago

          Zito gave us 200 innings and actually improved over last year (FIP wise at least). However, every player had his own part. Thanks to such bad contracts and players over the years, the Giants were able to suck enough to get high enough draft picks to get Timmeh, Buster, MadBum, etc. A little luck helped too in getting Timmeh and Buster especially. Thanks to horrible deals like the one that included Liriano, Nathan, and Bonser for Pierzynski, the signing of Armando Benitez (I probably spelled his name wrong but I don’t care), and of course deals like Zito, Rowand, and Renteria, it all seemed to make sense. Zito gave us the innings, Rowand was occasionally clutch and thanks to Vicente Padilla and him playing bad enough, Andres was able to play and become the #2 most valuable OF this year according to FanGraph’s WAR. Renteria did win Game 5 for us. So yes, the bad contracts and decisions helped in a way. Besides, I doubt that we would have still won the whole thing had it not been for some of those moves.

      • RepOak 5 years ago

        Zito was a 18 million dollar cheerleader! Was it his idea to have the horrible orange pom-poms in the NLDS?!

    • YourBase 5 years ago

      The Giants won the World Series.

  14. Guest 5 years ago

    Sounds like Iwakuma doesn’t really want to play in Oakland.
    Though I would like some confirmation on his demands, I don’t see why he would think he would get anywhere near that much considering Matsuzaka’s salary.

  15. brandon_taddonio 5 years ago

    billy beane was probably like yeah sooo f*** you

  16. timmytwoshoezzz 5 years ago

    Somebody’s been drinking too much Saki if they think they rate Zito money!

  17. safari_punch 5 years ago

    Give this man his money Beane!

  18. If a team posts a HUGE fee why can’t the Japanese team hand half of the cash to the player and tell him to sign on the cheap?

    • zonis 5 years ago

      I think part of it does go to the player

      • The posting fee goes to the team in its entirety. They view it as compensation for allowing that player out of their Japanese contract in order to sign an MLB contract.

      • The posting fee goes to the team in its entirety. They view it as compensation for allowing that player out of their Japanese contract in order to sign an MLB contract.

  19. Maybe he meant Zitos first contract… ;P

  20. portmexjr96 5 years ago

    F*** this Iwakuma guy he prob would have been garbage anyways!

    • Shikikazu 5 years ago

      Hope he gets posted again next year and Seattle wins the bid then signs a 4 Yr 20 Mill contract and then proceeds to beat your A’s for years.

      • jdkladsjl 5 years ago

        What ever your smokin I would like a pound. Mariners will remain to be terrible

  21. Ben_Cherington 5 years ago

    Who’s his agent…Scott Boras? It sounds about right!

    • melonis_rex 5 years ago

      Boras isn’t Iwakuma’s agent, actually. Don Nomura is.

      • Ben_Cherington 5 years ago

        Yea i know…I was just making a joke due to the outlandish contract demands. I had to google it last nightto find out.

      • Ben_Cherington 5 years ago

        Yea i know…I was just making a joke due to the outlandish contract demands. I had to google it last nightto find out.

  22. Dude can’t be serious. I know there is a learning curve when going to a new country but he can’t be that far off. He either changed his mind about coming to the states or he thinks the A’s are foolish.

  23. DMartAsFan 5 years ago

    If the A’s are going to sign a starting pitcher I would want them to go after an innings eater like Jon Garland. But if we have to spend a good amount of money on a starting pitcher we should just give Outman, Ross, and Cramer a shot. Look what happened to Cahill and Gonzalez fighting for the fifth spot in Spring Training last year, Cahill won 18 games and Gonzalez won 15 games for us.

  24. sacu 5 years ago

    maybe he was asking for 126,000,000 yen???

    126,000,000 yen = $1,508,078.04

  25. sacu 5 years ago

    maybe he was asking for 126,000,000 yen???

    126,000,000 yen = $1,508,078.04

  26. YourBase 5 years ago

    Maybe, maybe not. I’m not here to argue hypotheticals.

  27. K-N 5 years ago

    Hmm. In fact, Iwakuma has a very good reputation, both on the ground and on the business side. But his Japanese agent for this negotiation, Dan Nomura, is very notorious. I can’t help but thinking that Dan intentionally broke off the deal by making a mad demand. Next off-season, Iwakuma will be an FA and can talks with any MLB clubs he wants. Without the posting fee, the money Iwakuma (and Nomura) can get will be much bigger. That said, I doubt if he can fetch more than $5M a year, i.e. the max amount A’s offered him, in the next off-season. Also, this year’s move might well affect Iwakuma’s credibility in the US very negatively in the future.

  28. First of all, Iwakuma isn’t a guy who wants to huge money that San Francisco did with Zito.
    Though, I am not sure whether his agent was asking the price or not.

    It’s just my guess that Rakuten didn’t want to release Iwakuma to MLB.
    The team asked A’s, who has a relationship with the Rakuten, to try to win the bid.
    It was ok for the Rakuten whether case A’s won the bid or the others won it by higher amount than A’s did.
    I actually felt funny to hear the price that A’s did both time when the posting and currently negotiation.
    Too high and too low.

    Sorry my English is pretty bad to read for you.

    • Shikikazu 5 years ago

      Your 100% right
      Iwakuma is a humble guy either he didn’t want to play for the A’s he wants to be a free agent next year. That and Don Nomura is half white and speaks fluent English. Also is it just me or does Don Wakamatsu and Don Nomura look exactly alike

    • Why even post the guy then if he didn’t want to go to America?

  29. Dwan 5 years ago

    So they traded Cahill because they expected to sign Iwakuma. This is what happens when you count your chickens before they hatch. Beane should have put the Dejusus trade on hold until after this negotiation.

    • bustersposey 5 years ago

      they traded mazzaro not cahill. huge difference.

  30. You do realize he does not become a free agent if there is no deal reached? It means he goes back to his Japanese team.

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