Report: Hisashi Iwakuma Failed Physical



Let’s make one thing clear: I don’t know how to read Japanese. So I can’t confirm what this says, personally, but I don’t see any compelling reason to doubt the report. That report: Hisashi Iwakuma has failed his physical exam with the Dodgers, after the parties came to an agreement on a three-year contract worth $45 million.

For some context, the Mariners openly talked about how re-signing Iwakuma was Priority No. 1, and they extended to him a qualifying offer. Presumably, they’d given Iwakuma a physical of their own. But in talks, the Mariners didn’t want to go to three guaranteed years, so the Dodgers swooped in and lured Iwakuma away. Yet now it appears they see something they don’t like, something that might be more of a long-term concern. Could be Iwakuma projects well for 2016, but things get murky beyond that.

The Dodgers could now turn to Mike Leake, or Scott Kazmir. Or they could tweak the Iwakuma contract. When Matt Kemp had some physical issues discovered, that failed to scuttle his trade to the Padres. When Grant Balfour failed a physical with the Orioles, he eventually signed with another team. And when Mike Napoli had something discovered in his exam with the Red Sox, a three-year deal worth $39 million was re-worked to a one-year deal worth $5 million, with incentives. Those are basically the options, here. It reads like the Dodgers are backing away entirely, but maybe they try to offer Iwakuma a one-year deal to see if he bites.

Down the stretch last season, Iwakuma did lose a bit of velocity. Granted, he also threw a no-hitter, and his August/September/October ERA was 2.63. So, nothing caused his performance to suffer. But he missed a lot of time earlier with a strained right lat, and he had some shoulder problems back when he was pitching in Japan, so it’s not like this comes as a total surprise. Iwakuma would’ve never been described as a workhorse. There have always been some concerns about his durability, and now the Dodgers see something they wish they didn’t. Maybe Iwakuma still has three healthy years left in him, but he’ll have to prove it, and the Dodgers will have to sniff around for improvements to a rotation they already wanted to see get a bit better.

If you want to be an optimist, maybe this could turn Iwakuma into a bargain. That’s spin, though. Because it’s never good news for a pitcher to have an agreement negated because someone didn’t like what they saw in his arm. The pitcher needs the arm to pitch.

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Jeff made Lookout Landing a thing, but he does not still write there about the Mariners. He does write here, sometimes about the Mariners, but usually not.

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Dodgers Iwakuma reports of physical contact after the failure of the spot.

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I’m sorry I started this.