If the Red Sox want some pitching help this offseason, they might be able to get some in unusual fashion.
Japanese right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma, a starting pitcher for his country in the 2004 Athens Olympics and 2009 World Baseball Classic, is considering a move to Major League Baseball via the posting system, Japan Today reports.
The procedure for a big league team to acquire Iwakuma would be the same way that the Red Sox signed Daisuke Matsuzaka in 2006.
Major League Baseball would hold a four-day silent auction during which teams would attempt to win exclusive negotiating rights for Iwakuma. The team that wins would be able to negotiate a contract with the pitcher, and if one is signed, the winning bid then would be paid as compensation to the Rakuten Eagles, Iwakuma’s current team.
When the Red Sox signed Matsuzaka to a six-year, $52 million deal in 2006, they also had to pay a whopping $51.1 million to the Seibu Lions for the rights to negotiate with him.
Iwakuma was the 2008 Pacific League MVP and is a three-time All-Star in Japan. At 6-foot-3, 170 pounds, he has the ability to register 95 miles per hour on his fastball, but regularly hits 90 to 91 on the speed gun, according to Fan Graphs.
Ironically, if Boston were to sign Iwakuma, he could take Matsuzaka’s spot in the rotation in 2011.
But because Dice-K is under contract for a significant amount of money for another two years, it’s unlikely the Red Sox will take on what should be another huge salary.
Then again, general manager Theo Epstein has proven time after time he’s willing to pay for the best.