Seattle — Throughout Hisashi Iwakuma’s free agency, the Mariners remained in contact, and the team moved swiftly when the pitcher unexpectedly became available again.
How quick? Less than 48 hours after finding out Iwakuma was back on the market, the Mariners completed a deal with the Japanese-born right-hander.
“I feel like this was a great opportunity for us to reunite with a guy we always felt should have been with the Mariners,” Seattle general manager Jerry Dipoto said.
Iwakuma was back in Seattle on Friday after agreeing to to a deal that guarantees $12 million and could be worth $47.5 million over three years if he pitches 190 innings per season.
He opened his news conference by saying in English, “The Bear is back in Seattle,” and the Mariners couldn’t be happier.
“A lot of things happened in the last week. It was like a big wave going up and down,” Iwakuma said through an interpreter. “Eventually I was able to sign here, and this is where I wanted to be.”
Seattle moved quickly to retain Iwakuma after he had originally agreed to a deal with the Dodgers. Iwakuma says after going through a physical with the Dodgers earlier this week, the team indicated it wanted to “renegotiate” the originally agreed upon terms.
That’s when Dipoto, Seattle’s new GM, swooped in and added another proven arm to his rotation. Assistant general manager Jeff Kingston told reporters the Mariners had no issues with the results of Iwakuma’s physical at the end of the regular season.
“We were comfortable with (his health) from the get go,” Dipoto said.
The Dodgers had no comment about what happened with Iwakuma.
“I don’t know if I was stunned. It was unfortunate,” Iwakuma said.
“I’m here today, and in the end it worked out for me.”
There were several reports Dec. 6 of a $45 million, three-year agreement between Iwakuma and the Dodgers.
Iwakuma was 9-5 with a 3.54 ERA in 20 starts last season for the Mariners, including the first no-hitter of his career in August against Baltimore.
Luxury tax offenders
The Dodgers have been hit with a record luxury tax of nearly $43.6 million.
They are one of a record four teams to exceed the spending threshold and owe tax.
The Yankees and Red Sox will pay along with the Giants, a first-time offender.
The Rangers and right-hander Colby Lewis reportedly agreed on a $6 million, one-year contract.
The Rangers also agreed to a minor league contract with Matt Bush, the first overall draft pick in 2004 who recently finished 3-1/2 years in prison after a drunken driving accident in Florida that injured a man.
... Right-hander Ryan Vogelsong agreed to a one-year, $2 million contract with the Pirates.
... Right-handed reliever Nate Jones and the White Sox agreed to an $8 million, three-year contract.
... Catcher Jeff Mathis agreed to a $1.5 million, one-year contract to remain with the Marlins.
... The Indians acquired right-handed reliever Dan Otero from the Phillies for cash.
... Outfielder Junior Lake was claimed by the Blue Jays off waivers from the Orioles.