Mariners Listening To Offers For Hisashi Iwakuma?


Is Hisashi Iwakuma on the trading block? It wouldn’t seem likely but according to a recent report by Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe, there is a possibility. And why not? Iwakuma is a free agent after the 2015 season and may or may not be willing to sign an extension prior to becoming a free agent.

But perhaps there is a growing feeling in the Mariners front office that they don’t want to offer ‘Kuma an extension. While he has gone 38-20 with a 3.07 ERA in three seasons, including a 3rd-place finish in the 2013 AL Cy Young balloting, he has some red flags.

Iwakuma missed roughly six starts in 2014 with an injury sustained prior to the start of Spring Training. He started the season off streaky, throwing a shutout one night, allowing five runs the next, but seemed to settle in during July and August.

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On August 19th, he was 12-6 with an ERA of 2.57. He would finish the season with a 15-9 record (3-3 after that start) with an ERA of 3.52 (ERA of 8.13 in his last 7 starts).

Iwakuma was also lit up in the Japan Series, taking the loss in Game 2 allowing 10 hits and five runs in 4 IP.

So, perhaps it makes sense that the Seattle Mariners have fielded inquiries about the 33-year-old Iwakuma. According to Cafardo, the Red Sox are believed to at least had “internal conversations” about him, knowing that Seattle would want someone like Yoenis Cespedes in return.

Both Cespedes and Iwakuma are free agents after the 2015 season, so a straight swap would make sense, at least on paper. And it would give the Mariners that power bat in the middle of the lineup they have been searching for.

But then that begs the question: Would the Mariners try for Jon Lester or Max Scherzer if they trade ‘Kuma?

Stay tuned.