But for right now the Yankees are still waiting to talk with Jeet and cannot talk with other team’s free agents for five days. One player they need to make a decision on now is Hisashi Iwakuma.
Iwakuma is a 29-year-old Japanese right hander who was posted by the Tohoku Rakuten yesterday. Teams now have until Friday to put a bid on him. The highest bidder has exclusive negotiating rights to him this offseason.
The NY Post contacted Yankees general manager Brian Cashman to gauge their interest in the pitcher, but he responded with a no comment.
The Yankees may make a bid on the pitcher, but it is unlikely to be a significant one. Most of their money is earmarked for Jeter, Mariano Rivera, Lee, and possibly even other big ticket free agents. To put a significant bid in on Iwakuma doesn’t seem like it fits right now.
Part of the reason may have to be with how badly they were burned on Igawa whom the Yankees placed a $26 million bid on before signing him to an addition $20 million contract. They aren’t likely done with Japanese pitchers forever because they’ve been scouting Yu Darvish for a number of years now, but it is safe to say they are going to be a lot more careful in the future.
After all, Japanese pitchers don’t exactly have the best track record in America. Hideo Nomo is probably the most successful, but even he struggled after the league adjusted to him. The Yankees were also burned by Hideki Irabu who was highly touted as the Nolan Ryan of Japan before being a complete bust here in America.
Here are Iwakuma’s stats: