Carl Steward here, subbing for Joe Stiglich at the MLB winter meetings …
The A’s still had roughly five hours of deadline to go when Billy Beane and his staff met with the Bay Area media Monday to discuss the status of negotiations with Japanese pitcher Hisashi Iwakuma. But things were sounding grim and grimmer that the two sides would make some sort of last-minute deal. For starters, they didn’t talk the entire day Monday.
Beane said it “would be a surprise” if the two sides were to make what he termed “an 11th-hour deal.”
A news report out of Japan earlier in the day declared that Iwakuma had already nixed the A’s and that he would hold a press conference Tuesday to announce that he was staying with the Rakuten Golden Eagles of Japan’s Pacific League. Beane wouldn’t go that far, but he sounded like he was preparing to allow the 12 a.m. EST deadline expire.
The only good news is that the A’s will recover the $19.1 million posting fee they made to acquire exclusive negotating rights with the 30-year-old right-handed pitcher. Beane wouldn’t talk about the negotiations, but indications are that the two sides were never close. The A’s reportedly offered roughly $9 million per season with the posting fee included while Iwakuma and his agent Don Nomura were looking for much more.