Two Teams Have “Viable” Interest In Iwakuma

MONDAY: Susan Slusser of The San Francisco Chronicle reports that the Athletics are "lukewarm" on Iwakuma, but there are two teams with "viable" interest in the right-hander. Oakland is not one of them, however.

SUNDAY: There are four teams talking to free agent Japanese right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma, according to Joe Stiglich of the Bay Area News Group (via Twitter). The Athletics, who won the bidding on Iwakuma last winter but couldn't work out a contract, are one of the four, says Stiglich.

The Rakuten Golden Eagles posted Iwakuma a year ago, but ultimately re-signed him after the righty was unable to agree to a deal with the A's. Oakland bid about $19.1MM for the right to exclusively negotiate with Iwakuma, but were reluctant to commit the type of salary the pitcher was seeking on top of the posting fee.

Iwakuma has now reached free agency, so the Sosnick-Cobbe client can sign a contract with any MLB club. Besides the A's, the Twins may be one of the four clubs involved. They placed second in the Iwakuma bidding last year, and were said to have him on their radar last month. Perhaps the Orioles are in as well — Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun wrote this week that Dan Duquette is "exceptionally well-versed in international players," and the O's have targeted arms such as Tsuyoshi Wada and Wei-Yin Chin since the new GM's arrival.

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