I dutifully passed on the reports out of Japan last weekend that had the Mariners bidding on right-handed pitcher Hasashi Iwakuma, who went through the posting system to play in MLB next year. The A’s ultimately were awarded the negotiating rights to Iwakuma by virtue of putting in the highest bid.
John Hickey of AOL Fanhouse had an item yesterday in which he cited sources who said the Mariners actually didn’t bid on Iwakuma. I’ve since talked to baseball sources who confirm what Hickey wrote — that the Mariners weren’t involved in the bidding. So I apologize for passing on what appears to have been inaccurate information coming out of Japan, widely disseminated in the U.S. media.
Meanwhile, another Japanese player, shortstop Tsuyoshi Nishioka, is deemed a possible posting candidate, though his team, the Chiba Lotte Marines, are holding of a decision until they’re done with the postseason this wekend. Nishioka, a 26-year-old switch-hitter, is coming off a season in which he hit .346 with a .423 on-base percentage and compiled 206 hits, becoming the first Pacific League player to get 200 hits since Ichiro. But Patrick Newman of NPBtracker.com, writing on FanGraphs.com, compares him as a hitter to a “Ryan Theriot/Chone Figgins type.” I’d call that damning with faint praise.The Dodgers are his preferred landing spot, according to this Los Angeles Times article, which mentions several other West Coast teams that appeal to him — but no mention of the Mariners. I’ll hold off on speculation this time, and let the posting system play out.