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A’s Win Iwakuma Bidding – SportsUntapped.com
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Added November 8th, 2010 by Chalk

A’s Win Iwakuma Bidding
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The Oakland Athletics have won the bidding for pitcher Hisashi Iwakuma of Japan, giving the A’s exclusive negotiating rights for the next 30 days. Iwakuma is 29 and widely regarded as Japan’s second-best pitcher behind phenom Yu Darvish. Iwakuma represented his country in the 2009 World Baseball Classic and has won 44 games over the past three seasons in Japan.

During the 2009 WBC, one AL scout told Baseball America that Iwakuma “would step into any rotation in the majors right now” and “might be the No. 1 [starter] for half the teams in the majors.” Last season, Iwakuma had a 2.81 ERA and pitched 201 innings. His best season was in 2009 when he was 21-4 with a 1.87 ERA, earning him the Pacific League’s MVP award. The Rangers and Mariners were also interested in Iwakuma, with the Mariners prepared to bid $13 million for his rights according to the Japanese media.

Here’s video of Iwakuma:

Last season, the Athletics were 81-81 and pitching was one of their bright spots. Trevor Cahill made the All-Star team and Dallas Braden pitched a perfect game. Here’s what their five young starting pitchers did last season:

  • Gio Gonzalez, age 24, 15-9, 3.23 ERA, 33 starts, 200.2 IP
  • Cahill, age 22, 18-8, 2.97 ERA, 30 starts, 196.2 IP
  • Braden, age 26, 11-14, 3.50, 30 starts, 192.2 IP
  • Vin Mazzaro, age 23, 6-8, 4.27, 18 starts, 122.1 IP
  • Brett Anderson, age 22, 7-6, 2.80, 19 starts, 112.1 IP

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