The Los Angeles Dodgers, who lost ace Zack Greinke in free agency to Arizona, were responding by nearing agreement on a deal to sign Hisashi Iwakuma Sunday night, according to multiple media reports from the MLB winter meetings in Nashville. The Mariners’ No. 2 starter the past season is said to be getting a three-year deal, one more than the Mariners were prepared to offer.
Iwakuma, 35 in April, spent the past four seasons in Seattle. He was 47-25 with a 3.17 ERA in 653.2 innings, with 551 strikeouts and 127 walks.
He finished third in Cy Young voting in 2013, his best year when he was an All-Star with 14-6 with a 2.66 ERA and 1.01 WHIP. He also threw a no-hitter Aug. 12. He joined Seattle as a free agent after 11 seasons in Japan.
Iwakuma’s time on the disabled list the past two years presumably was a part of Seattle’s reluctance to go to three years. And the Dodgers’ willingness to throw money — in 2015, they were MLB’s first team to exceed $300 million in player payroll — was another discouragement for Seattle, which spent about $125 million in player payroll last year.
A year ago, the Dodgers gave $48 million over four years to pitcher Brandon McCarthy.
General manager Jerry Dipoto said a priority was to re-sign Iwakuma, but now it looks like a new plan will emerge as meetings begin Monday.