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Posted on: October 31, 2010 7:32 pm

Posting to begin on Iwakuma

Let the bidding begin.

On Nov. 1, Monday, the posting process for Hisashi Iwakuma will begin.

Iwakuma finished with a 2.82 ERA in 201 innings for the Rakuten Golden Eagles, and is one of the best pitchers in the game. However, the 29-year-old is ready to move onto the majors, and the righty should serve nicely in the middle of some team's rotation next year.

Patrick Newman of NPB Tracker says that Rakuten is hoping for a $16-$17 million posting fee. The winning team will have to negotiate a contract with Iwakuma on top of that posting fee.

The record posting fee a team has ever paid is Boston's $51.1 million to Seibu for the rights to Daisuke Matsuzaka, who then signed a six-year, $52 million deal.

-- Evan Brunell

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Category: MLB
Posted on: October 29, 2010 2:50 pm

Nakajima staying in Japan

For teams in the market for a shortstop, Hiroyuki Nakajima may have been a perfect fit .

Alas, the Japanese player will not be posted, as NPB Tracker reports on Twitter.

Nakajima seems certain to head stateside sometime in the next few years, but at least for now, will remain in Japan where he is one of the top players in the game.
-- Evan Brunell

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed .
Category: MLB
Posted on: October 19, 2010 9:16 am

Yu Darvish to stay in Japan one more year

Yu Darvish Baseball will have to wait one more year for a bona fide ace to make his way from Japan to the states.

No, Hisashi Iwakuma's posting wasn't pulled back. Rather, the best pitcher Japan has to offer these days announced he was returning to the Nippon Ham Fighters for a seventh season, as translates from Darvish's blog .

"A lot has been mentions [sic] about the Majors," the translation reads. Next season... I will be wearing a Nippon-Ham Fighters uniform."

Even though Darvish (photo courtesy NPB) plans to stay at home, it's ineviable that the Persian Japanese eventually heads to MLB, even as he remains loyal to staying home. In Japan, he's become one of the richest players to ever play and earned 330 million yen in 2010 -- the youngest to ever break the 300-million yen mark while becoming the highest-paid pitcher in the Pacific League.

But 330 million yen is nothing compared to what he could make in America as the dollar value of 330 million yen is a Oct. 19 value of $4 million.

A Japanese sports daily newspaper named Sponichi reported last week that the Diamondbacks were prepared to spend up to $80 million on the right-hander, as NPB Tracker passes along. This would cover both the posting fee and contract.

Given Arizona doesn't have the finances like the Red Sox to eventually guarantee $100 million overall for the services of Daisuke Matsuzaka, plus Matsuzaka's poor play has reduced the demand for Japanese pitchers, $80 million is quite a bit to offer.

Darvish made 26 starts for Nippon-Ham in 2010, hurling 202 innings, throwing 10 complete games with an ERA of 1.78. He whiffed 222 and walked 47, holding batters to just five home runs. While his control would likely take a step back, Darvish is only 24 and has the talent to emerge as an ace in America.

-- Evan Brunell

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed .
Category: MLB
Posted on: October 11, 2010 9:15 pm
Edited on: October 11, 2010 9:17 pm

Shortstop Nakajima could head to MLB

Hiroyuki Nakajima Add Hiroyuki Nakajima to the list of possible replacements for teams searching for a new shortstop in 2011.

As Yahoo! Japan reports , Nakajima (image courtesy Nippon Pro Baseball) will likely be posted for MLB teams to bid on. Nakajima is considered the second-best hitter in Japan by Patrick Newman, who runs the NBP Tracker , a blog dedicated to Japanese baseball. Newman, in an article for Fangraphs, said that Nakajima has solid gap power and is considered a good fielder. The 28-year-old primarily plays on turf, however, so his longevity at the position has to be questioned.

The righty replaced Kazuo Matsui at short for Seibu after Matsui left for the States. Nakajima quickly emerged as one of the league's better players and hit .364/.516/.545 in the 2009 World Baseball Classic after leading the Lions to a Japan Series victory in 2008. He homered off Koji Uehara to win Game 1 and then blasted Hisanori Takahashi the next day in an eventual loss. Both pitchers are now pitching for the Orioles and Mets, respectively, turning in solid seasons in advance of free agency.

Nakajima hit .314/.393/.511 in 579 plate appearances in 2010 and has been hit at least 10 times per year since becoming a full-time player. There figure to be no shortage of teams interested in Nakajima. The Yankees, who have Derek Jeter expiring, could have interest along with the Mariners, who are owned by a Japanese corporation (Nintendo) and are in the market for a shortstop.

Below, you can see Nakajima hitting a home run off Dicky Gonzalez. The man he does a high-five routine with is Dee Brown .

-- Evan Brunell

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed .
Category: MLB
Posted on: October 4, 2010 9:41 am

Japan's Iwakuma posted

Hisashi Iwakuma A Japanese pitcher has been posted, but it's not Yu Darvish. The Rakuten Golden Eagles have posted right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma, according to a release by the team (via ).

Iwakuma, the 2008 Eiji Sawamura Araward winner, started for Japan over Darvish in the championship game of the 2009 World Baseball Classic, where he allowed two runs in 7 2/3 innings. In the tournament, his 1.35 ERA was the lowest of any pitcher that threw 15 or more innings and was named to the All-Tournament team.

This season, he was 10-9 with a 2.82 ERA. He struck out 153 batters in 201 innings, walking 36.

Iwakuma was the first opening-day starter for the expansion Golden Eagles in 2005.

"I am also grateful to the owner and the front office to get this opportunity a year before getting my international free agent option," Iwakuma said (translated by "But according to the rules, nothing is set in stone until I'm signed by an MLB team. There is still a chance I may spend one more year with the Eagles. So I will provide another comment

Iwakuma used to be a power pitcher, but suffered a shoulder injury in 2005. He also had to change his motion when Japanese baseball changed rules on pitching motions.

Darvish will be the more interesting case, while Iwakuma could be a back-of-the-rotation type starter for a team looking to pad its rotation. The posting system requires teams to bid on a player with that money going to the Japanese team and then after that is paid, the winning team can then negotiate with the player.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed .
Category: MLB
Posted on: September 13, 2010 11:04 pm

Iwakuma could be next Japanese pitcher in U.S.

The next Japanese import may be Hisashi Iwakuma, reports the Japan Times ' Jason Coskrey.

Iwakuma, who currently pitches for the Rakuten Eagles, would like to be posted after the season although the Eagles are thought to be unwilling to do so.

The 29-year-old was profiled by Patrick Newman at Fangraphs August 27, noting him as "the second-best MLB pitching prospect currently active" in Japan.

Iwakuma currently has a 2.74 ERA in 26 starts covering 187 innings. He's whiffed 138 and walked 32 with a 90-91-mph fastball, slider and forkball.

The righty previously used a two-stage delivery (lifting the front leg up, down and back up) that was outlawed by Japan several years ago, causing Iwakuma to go through a couple tough seasons before getting back on track.
While Rakuten may not be eager to part with Iwakuma, the team is currently in the cellar and faces losing the phenom after the 2011 season once Iwakuma qualifies for international free agency. Those two factors will likely push the Eagles into accepting a posting fee which they can then use to rebuild the club with.

-- Evan Brunell

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed .

Category: MLB
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or