Considering the recent brouhaha surrounding the supposed trade between the Reds and Dodgers I figured it was best to error on the side of caution before posting this up. After all, it's not so relevant to me that I be first out of the gate. I just want to celebrate a players entrance into the Dodger family, and share a couple of fantasy Baseball cards I made in celebration.
As you know by now, the Dodgers have signed right-handed starting pitcher Hisashi Iwakuma; as first reported by Jim Bowden on twitter. Although yet to be officially confirmed by the team, it appears all but certain to be true. Heck, Mark Saxon noted on twitter today that the Dodgers will hold a press conference announcing the signing tomorrow. BTW, it has been reported to be a three year deal, via Jon Heyman on twitter:
That comes out to $15 Million a season - a reasonable amount given his age, recent injury history and his skills on the mound. Iwakuma is 34 years old, suffered a right lateral strain last year that knocked him out for nearly a couple of months and for his career is 47-25 with a 3.17 ERA, 3.62 FIP and 7.7 strike outs per nine innings. Last season he threw a no-hitter against the Baltimore Orioles in August (the second Japanese ballplayer to ever do so).Iwakuma agreement is $45M, 3 yrs with dodgers— Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) December 7, 2015
Iwakuma is a command pitcher who throws a fastball in the low-90's, a split-finger fastball (in high 80's), slider, shuuto and curveball. He induces plenty of ground balls, so the Dodgers revamped defense should help him a lot.
On a more personal note, Iwakuma is a very spiritual man, via Steve Dilbeck at the LA Times:
Iwakuma is a member of Soka Gakkai International, something of a new-age Buddhism religion centered in Japan. After arthroscopic elbow surgery in 2007, Iwakuma said he was being tentative in his comeback before he was inspired by works from Soka Gakkai's leader, Daisaku Ikeda.In celebration of Iwakuma's signing I made the above two fantasy cards of him. On the left, the photograph by Mike Ehrmann/Getty and I used the 1961 Topps Baseball card design. On the right, the photograph is by AP/Ted Warren and I used the 1968 Topps Baseball card design.
He told Soka Gakkai's monthly newsletter: "Sensing my anxiety, Sensei [Ikeda] looked at me and said: 'Cast away your worries! Become strong!' His guidance was strict yet warm. In his words I sensed with my entire being the trust and high expectations he placed in me.
"That day happened to be my birthday. I took it as Sensei's lifelong gift to me."
Below are his career statistics as a player, via Baseball-Reference:
UDPATE: As you surely know, this deal is deal. According to various reports, Iwakuma failed his physical with the Dodgers. He also, within 24 hours of those initial reports, signed a one-year contract (with options for the following two seasons) to stay in Seattle.
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