Mariners re-sign Hisashi Iwakuma

Hisashi Iwakuma after his no-hitter.

Hisashi Iwakuma after his no-hitter.

Seattle Mariners Executive Vice President & General Manager of Baseball Operations Jerry Dipoto announced tonight the Mariners have re-signed right-handed pitcher Hisashi Iwakuma to a 2016 contract with vesting options for 2017 and 2018.

“We said from the start that Kuma was a priority for us,” Dipoto said. “Obviously, the developments from the last few days allowed us to get back in the game. It’s a credit to our ownership; to Howard Lincoln, to Kevin Mather, to our entire ownership group that we were able to get aggressive and find a way to bring Kuma back to the Mariners. We’re all thrilled. This is a big move for us. We feel like this really puts a finishing touch on what we think has been a very productive off-season.”

Iwakuma, 34, was 9-5 with a 3.54 ERA (51 ER, 129.2 IP) with 111 strikeouts in 20 starts with Seattle last season, including 4-2 with a 2.17 ERA (11 ER, 45.2 IP) with 43 strikeouts in his final seven starts. Seattle won 11 of his final 16 starts of the season when he was 9-4 with a 2.82 ERA (34 ER, 108.1 IP) with 97 strikeouts.

On Aug. 12 vs. Baltimore, the right-hander threw the 5th no-hitter in Mariners history (4th by a single pitcher) and became the 2nd Japanese-born pitcher with a Major League no-hitter (Hideo Nomo, twice).

In four seasons with Seattle, Iwakuma has combined to go 47-25 with a 3.17 ERA (230 ER, 653.2 IP) with 551 strikeouts in 111 games, including 97 starts. Since joining the Mariners rotation on July 2, 2012, his 3.09 ERA (214 ER, 623.1 IP) as a starter is the 4th-best in the American League (min. 600.0 IP) and 9th-best in the Majors; he ranks behind just Felix Hernandez (2.89), David Price (2.89) and Chris Sale (3.05) in the A.L. In 2013, he was an American League All-Star and was named the Mariners MVP Pitcher by the Seattle Chapter of the BBWAA.

Prior to joining the Mariners in 2012, Iwakuma compiled a 107-69 record in 226 career games with Kintetsu (2001-04) and Rakuten (2005-2011) in the Japan League. He was named the 2008 Pacific League MVP and winner of the Eiji Sawamura Award (Cy Young equivalent) after going 21-4 with a 1.87 ERA (42 ER, 201.2 IP) in 28 starts.

The right-hander was a two-time selection for the Best Nine Award (2004, 2008) and was a two-time NPB All-Star (2004, 2008). Iwakuma also starred for Japan in the 2004 Athens Summer Olympics (Bronze Medal) and the 2009 World Baseball Classic (Gold Medal).


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