So much for Japanese pitcher Hisashi Iwakuma playing in green-and-gold next season. According to the SFChronicle, and the A’s official site, the A’s talks with Iwakuma have stalled. The A’s reportedly posted a $19 million posting fee in order to negotiate with Iwakuma, but if a deal is not completed by December 7, the A’s will get their posting fee returned.
The A’s, according to rumors, offered Iwakuma a four-year deal worth about $15.25 million. Iwakuma’s agent, meanwhile, argued that the A’s offer was far too low. In fact, according to reports, the Iwakuma camp was looking for Barry Zito money. Yes, you’ve read right, Zito money!
Zito, who left the A’s following the end of the ’06 season, signed with the Giants for $126 million over seven years. Iwakuma’s camp also used Daisuke Matsuzaka’s contract as a comparison. It is believed that the Iwakuma camp wanted to use Zito’s contract as a starting point for negotiations. Iwakuma’s agent, Don Nomura, however, insists that Iwakuma was not looking for Zito money, but rather a more fair offer from the A’s.
This is certainly disappointing news for the A’s, but regardless if they get Iwakuma or not, they’ve got a pretty good starting rotation without him. The A’s biggest strength next season is going to be their pitching.
If the talks between the A’s and Iwakuma are indeed ‘over,’ then perhaps the A’s could use the $18 or so million they spent on the posting fee to acquire an impact hitter for their anemic offense. Nomura, did say, however, that the A’s offer to Adrian Beltre was just a “PR Move.” That to me, is rather disturbing. Did Nomura say this just because he was unable to land Iwakuma a big contract with Oakland, or because it’s true? The A’s seldom dish out that much money, and the rumored five-year, $64 million deal did sound like an awful lot for the A’s.