Danny Likes A 91 MPH Fastball…
Feeling depressed Seattle Mariners fans after losing Michael Pineda?
There was something special about the friendly giant who was as excited to pitch as a little leaguer. Not to mention it was fun to watch as opposing clubs underestimated the rookie’s dominance and diabolical slider.
Well, Jesus Montero being rated as the number one prospect in all of baseball should cheer you up, but if it doesn’t, take a moment to look over three pointless but encouraging facts about the Mariners free agent pick up Hisashi Iwakuma.
Here’s a few reasons I’m on the Iwakuma bandwagon.
1. He’s from Japan
Japanese baseball players are cool, especially in Seattle where the team is owned by a Japanese businessman that has never even seen a game.
However adding in a big Japanese name means more sale for his business: Nintendo.
In all seriousness though, Iwakuma’s origin and experience in Japan will give him an edge for the first half of the season as the opposing team scouts and players will have little information to go off of.
He also has unique pitching mechanics that could throw off some batters, just because it’s weird.
2. He wears #21
The Mariners have never officially retired a jersey number, but the number 21 has not been used since Alvin Davis, the M’s 1984 Rookie of the Year wore it for his career.
Well technically I guess Franklin Gutierrez wears it, but they could take it from him right?
It’s not like he has earned it. This will be Iwakuma’s rookie year, and perhaps there is just a bit of luck in the number worn on the jersey. After all, Ichiro took over a semi-retired number of a Seattle great Randy Johnson and Ichiro won the rookie of the year award as well.
In all seriousness though, Iwakuma has impressive numbers and he has been said to be second in pitching dominance only to Yu Darvish who has signed with the Rangers.
So there is a chance that there could be rookie of the year potential in him. He holds a career 2.67 ERA and a .640% win ratio. (Impressive stuff)
3. He came cheap
Iwakuma signed a 1.5 Million dollar contract with the Mariners.
Which means, if ends up sucking he wouldn’t have sucked up too much of the payroll. If he does well there are about 4.9 Million in incentives for him.
What would you do to make an extra 4.9 Million?
What would you do for a Klondike bar?
In all seriousness, Iwakuma was reported to have turned down a $15 Million contract with the A’s.
Of course who would want to play for the A’s? What changed is that he had an injury shortened season last year and lost velocity on his fastball. (So it is a risk, but not a huge risk.)