Dodgers Deal With Iwakuma in Limbo


After a long period of silence, it seems the Dodgers deal with Hisashi Iwakuma could be in jeopardy.

Here’s how to cover the Dodgers’ offseason. Dodgers acquire someone. Write about it cautiously, as it hasn’t been officially announced by the team. Find out it might not happen. Curse, drink, punch your computer. Write about how the move might not happen.

The Dodgers agreed to a three year, $45 million deal with Iwakuma on December 6th. I seemed to be the only person that wasn’t concerned about the lack of official announcement from the team, and per usual, I was wrong.

Trusting Kazuto here because my fluency in Japanese is at best subpar, but it seems to be legit. It might also be slightly exaggerated.

The offseason of hell goes on. I’m not sure why this is a surprise. The Dodgers could probably trade for Jose Fernandez today and his arm will fall off. The Dodgers are literally the Springfield Nuclear Power Plant softball team. If Clayton Kershaw starts clucking like a chicken I will actually lose it.

Oct 2, 2015; Seattle, WA, USA; Seattle Mariners starting pitcher Hisashi Iwakuma (18) throws out a pitch in the first inning against the Oakland Athletics at Safeco Field. Mandatory Credit: Jennifer Buchanan-USA TODAY Sports

It’s hard to see what happens next without knowing all the details. The Dodgers could absolutely continue to pursue Iwakuma, who is still a very good pitcher. Obviously, they would need to re-open negotiations and rework the contract, perhaps with vesting options or team options or less money. The Padres found something they didn’t like in Matt Kemp‘s physical, and were able to squeeze a little more money out of the Dodgers for the trade to go through. So there is precedent for still getting deals done despite a sketchy physical.

If they do move on from Iwakuma, they retain their first round pick, which is a small silver lining. The remaining starting pitching options in free agency are either bleh (Mike Leake) or left-handed (Scott Kazmir, Wei-Yin Chen). I’d definitely prefer the lefties to Leake, who I really don’t see any appeal in. Kenta Maeda seems more and more likely, but his upside isn’t as high as previously posted Japanese pitchers, but I’ve been on board with him for a while.

Even before this Iwakuma move, the Dodgers were stockpiling prospects, perhaps in preparation for a trade. That seems increasingly likely now. Fernandez is still the most popular name out there, but the Marlins initially asked for the Dodgers’ top-three prospects AND a couple other pieces. So they’re going to have to come down a lot if that’s going to happen. Sonny Gray is probably cheaper and still pretty damn good, Carlos Carrasco is relatively unknown but a beast on a dirt cheap contract until 2020.

Next: Dodgers trade prospects for prospects

It’s not April so it’s still too early to panic about the Dodgers offseason. This move, like the Aroldis Chapman move that didn’t happen, is pretty unfair to blame the FO on. Iwakuma has had injuries in the past, but it’s not like he ended the season on the DL. He made six starts in September/October and pitched seven innings or more in three of them. It’s bad luck, which seems to be the theme with the Dodgers. There’s still plenty of time, but man this is getting old.