The Winter Meetings got started on Sunday and the first news out of Nashville was not good.
According to many reports – but no official announcement yet – free agent pitcher Hisashi Iwakuma is going to sign with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Obviously this is trouble for the Mariners, who were hoping to bring back Iwakuma on a two- or three-year deal. Time to look at Plan B.
Based on what we’ve seen so far from new GM Jerry Dipoto, I think we can safely assume he’s had a Plan B all along. There are lots of middle-tier free agent pitchers on the market, but the price for starting pitching has been quite high.
Top-of-the-rotation starters Zach Greinke and David Price just inked record-setting contracts. Reliable second-level guys like Jeff Samardzija and John Lackey are getting $15 million/year.
Dipoto has been saying all along that the team isn’t likely to sign a big name free agent, but he must have had payroll set aside for Iwakuma. With Kuma apparently gone, we’ll probably hear a lot about the Mariners being in the starting pitcher market this week.
- Both area newspapers sent their Mariners beat writer to Nashville, so we should get a lot of good reports this week. Here’s Ryan Divish on the fallout from the Iwakuma news.
- Divish has a rolling report from the meetings.
- Bob Dutton took a look at some Iwakuma alternatives.
- Bob also has a more generalized start-of-the-meetings story, which includes a note on ex-Rainiers infielder Chris Woodward.
- Divish’s meetings preview looks at how the Mariners might try to get a first baseman.
- You can play Mariners GM with The News Tribune’s “Free Agent Budget Tool.”
Stay tuned. The plan is to have daily updates here during the meetings.