Mariners on to Plan B with Hisashi Iwakuma reportedly to Dodgers

Dec 6, 2015, 8:21 PM | Updated: Jan 15, 2016, 10:14 am
With Hisashi Iwakuma reportedly going to L.A., how will the Mariners fill their rotation needs? (AP...
With Hisashi Iwakuma reportedly going to L.A., how will the Mariners fill their rotation needs? (AP)
(AP)

While nothing is official and I suspect a physical has yet to be taken, all indications are the Dodgers are about to sign Hisashi Iwakuma.

 

The Mariners are reported to have offered a two-year deal shortly after Iwakuma became a free agent, and my feeling all along has been that they would not get into a bidding war for his services. That’s not to say there wasn’t some back and forth between the two sides, but ultimately I think early on they assigned a value to Iwakuma and had a strong idea of what kind of deal they were comfortable signing him to.

Regardless, Sunday’s news is a bit of a blow as Iwakuma was Jerry Dipoto’s stated Plan A for acquiring a starting pitcher.

“We prefer to wait to see what happens with Kuma because quite frankly, if we get him back we are very satisfied with the way our rotation looks at that point,” Dipoto said Thursday. “If we don’t, then we will have to dig in on what we consider to be the next tier.”

The top tier and part of the second tier has disappeared quickly with David Price signing with the Red Sox, the Diamondbacks making a splash with Zach Greinke, the Giants following up quickly by signing Jeff Samardzija, and Jordan Zimmerman and John Lackey coming off the board as well. There will be an addition that could be of interest with Kenta Maeda of Japan to be posted. Johnny Cueto remains, but I would not expect the Mariners to look in that direction.

“We are not likely to be about marquee names and big signings,” said Dipoto Thursday.

So the Mariners appear to have run into that speed bump I mentioned in my last post. There is no doubt a Plan B. I have never got the impression that it was Kuma or bust for the Mariners. It was hoped he would be the big signing for the team this offseason but it appears those dollars will have to go elsewhere.

Can they acquire a true No. 2 starter or will they look to add multiple lesser options? The rotation needs stability. Felix Hernandez plus four starters who have a combined 147 big league starts between them is not what they will go into the season with. There are interesting free-agent names remaining, and perhaps now that the Mariners will receive a compensatory pick for losing Kuma they will be more willing to take a look at a player with a qualifying offer. Trades are also a possibility. We’ve seen Dipoto move quickly to fortify other areas of the club. With the waiting for Kuma appearing to be over, we will see if he is now as aggressive on the pitching front as he has been with the hitters.

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