While there has not been any official announcement, it appears as though the Oakland Athletics placed the winning bid to negotiate a contract with Hisashi Iwakuma, ace of the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles. The news comes from tweets made by Iwakuma’s agent Don Nomura.
It’s important to note that placing the winning bid does not constitute a contract – it merely gives the A’s exclusive rights to negotiate one with him. Iwakuma is regarded as the second best pitcher in Japan behind Yu Darvish.
What does this mean for the A’s? If Nomura’s tweets mean the A’s really were the top bidders, it appears as though one of their starters may be dealt for a bat. Ken Rosenthal proposed that the A’s may look into a deal with Milwaukee for Casey McGehee, while the A’s would send a package possibly consisting of Vin Mazzaro and/or even Iwakuma himself. However, Iwakuma won’t be eligible for a trade until June, should the A’s work out a deal with him. In that event, a deal would likely involve the A’s trading their rights to negotiate instead. Either way, the hot stove in Oakland is already getting pretty warm.