Eric Dykstra says:
November 5, 2012 at 6:27 pm
I wasn’t at all surprised that Iwakuma ended up back with the Mariners, but I wonder why FAs-to-be so often re-sign with the same team. Any particular reason Iwakuma decided just to go with the Mariners than to test the waters with 29 other teams? Or Oliver Perez? Do they just think the Mariners will give them more than any other team? Why are the Mariners willing to make an offer so high that the players would not want to even hear offers from 29 other teams?
I don’t really get it… I think it’s a fair deal, maybe a slight bargain for the Mariners.
Scott G says:
November 5, 2012 at 7:11 pm
Good Stuff. I had taken Iwakuma in a few AL leagues but had to drop him since the first few months he was hardly used . I don’t recall if Seattle stated what the reason was for holding him back, since he was active
November 5, 2012 at 7:39 pm
Maybe he was just happy there and knew that the Ms knew how to make Japanese players comfortable, something other teams don’t have nearly as much experience with.
November 5, 2012 at 7:41 pm
Officially he wasn’t fully recovered from his shoulder issues. Unofficially, Wedge hasn’t got a clue when it comes to evaluating talent and judged him off of his bad spring numbers.
Casey McLain says:
November 5, 2012 at 7:44 pm
The Mariners had an exclusive negotiating window that lasted longer than the standard window for free-agents-to-be, but as a result, they were subject to the same set of guidelines as if Iwakuma was a player they’d non-tendered in that if he signed with them he wouldn’t have been able to pitch until May 15. Similarly, if Iwakuma opted against signing the Mariners contract he likely had zero chance of returning, as being certain to lose a month-and-a-half of a pitcher is very unlikely to make a team increase their offer.
And to Scott, Iwakuma had some shoulder issues in Japan and apparently had some issues adapting to the conditioning schedule of the American game.
Sage, 12 yrs old says:
November 5, 2012 at 8:02 pm
Yeah, I’ve known about his awesome splitter since he was in Japan. I wanted to see him in the Majors because I knew he could get so many ground balls. It’s great that the Mariners got a solid No.2 or 3 guy, because the Mariners starting pitching was falling short sometimes. Yay Iwakuma and yay for smart Mariners!
November 5, 2012 at 8:07 pm
His wife and two children live in Seattle.
November 5, 2012 at 8:16 pm
Is Wedge the reason why Jaso didn’t get much playing time in the beginning of the year? If that’s the case, that’s a pretty awful trait for a manager.
November 5, 2012 at 9:06 pm
It’s fun to speculate, but I think it’s just as reasonable to believe that they didn’t think he could adjust to the five-man rotation and wanted to ease him in – something that could have contributed to his success later in the year. Wedge and the front office deserve to be raked over the coals for plenty, but I’m not convinced that this counts.
November 5, 2012 at 9:56 pm
Had he not re-signed with the Mariners on the day he did, he wouldn’t have been able to pitch for them until May 15th, if he later chose to sign (it was a stipulation in his original contract that they release him if they didn’t sign him by the date they did, which makes him ineligible to play for the Mariners until May 15th, if I recall correctly).
Had that not been the case, he of course would have been smarter to test the market, even if he was going to sign with the Mariners all along, just to see if he could up his contract a bit.
Gary York says:
November 5, 2012 at 9:58 pm
Yes, Wedge was the reason that Jaso did not play much early. Wedge has a great fondness for Miguel Olivo, so much so that sometimes he actually DH’d him, a fairly indefensible move given that Olivo ended up with an OPS somewhere in the high .500s. If Jaso hadn’t gotten hot in a pinch hit and occasional start role, he’d still be sitting on the bench (figuratively–they wouldn’t have made him stay in Seattle to sit on the bench after the season was over. At least I hope not.)
November 5, 2012 at 10:01 pm
@Scott: Yes, Jaso also road the pine for a good percentage of the beginning of the season. Funny that the Mariners started being OK when those two started to get to play regularly, rather than guys with “veteran grit”. Wedge’s roster decisions, particularly as he seems to take a lot of stock in what a player does in Spring Training and how much “veteran grit” they have, has made me anti-Wedge, and I’m rarely anti-manager, just because I usually like to give them the benefit of the doubt, as they have far more information available than we do on players and day to day stuff like bumps and bruises and the like.
Can’t wait until Wedge gets fired (obviously he will at some point, as pretty much all coaches / managers / GMs do).
David G says:
November 5, 2012 at 10:22 pm
Who’s going to give him more money and give him a better city to live in?
November 5, 2012 at 10:30 pm
“This is where we really get into something you didn’t know, because this is something I didn’t know before I went to the numbers.”
You should read Seattle Sports Insider more. Jemanji called it in January.
Jeff Sullivan says:
November 5, 2012 at 11:28 pm
He called the highest groundball rate among starting pitchers in baseball?
November 6, 2012 at 12:12 am
Kind of. He called an extremely high ground ball rate. Talking about Iwakuma’s split (or, as it’s called in Japan, the shuuto):
“ML hitters will make contact with this pitch, usually, but they will two-bounce them to third base. Check Fangraphs’ data on the shuuto. 325 shuutos in 2010, of which 53 were groundballs, and only 14 fly balls. You tell me. How do you hit this pitch in the air?”
That article. Dude’s pretty perceptive.
November 6, 2012 at 1:12 am
Iwakuma started the season with a pretty bad condition that a lot of players just breaking into the big leagues never recover from: Retarded Manager.
Pirates Hurdles says:
November 6, 2012 at 9:45 am
I thought they did away with that May 15th rule a few years ago. No?
November 6, 2012 at 10:59 am
TWO entirely unnecessary paragraphs to start the article this time! You’re really stepping up your game, Jeff ;)
November 6, 2012 at 11:51 am
Yet another reason Fangraphs needs an editor.
marc w says:
November 6, 2012 at 1:02 pm
To 13 of 2
That article says it’s the two-seamer/shuuto that would generate a ton of ground balls. He can’t be talking about the split, because the article also notes a forkball, and it’s clear from the pitch fx chart there which one is which.
As it happens, Iwakuma does have a 2-seamer, and it generated some GBs, as most 2-seamers do. But he’s clearly not talking about the split, which is slower and has more sink.
Jeff Sullivan says:
November 6, 2012 at 2:23 pm
Articles need introductions. Jesus.
kiss my GO NATS says:
November 6, 2012 at 4:03 pm
Anyone with more Sunshine!
November 6, 2012 at 4:44 pm
I liked the intro. rock on, jeff.
November 6, 2012 at 6:31 pm
Here he talks abut the splitter
“Q. So who are Iwakuma’s comparables?
A. He is in the Mussina / Cone family, but red-shifted towards ground balls. None of these other guys throw a GB-happy Shuuto. Also, Iwakuma’s splitter induces a bizarro GB ratio, and even the FB gets topped. Iwakuma’s GB ratio is over 2:1.”
November 6, 2012 at 7:52 pm
Jeff saves his volcano A game material for Lookout Landing.
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