A's bringing coal to Newcastle

Shouldn't the Yankees have been in on this? Or have they just been too traumatized by their Japanese pitchers ...

    The Oakland Athletics have won the right to negotiate with Japanese pitcher Hisashi Iwakuma, Major League Baseball announced Monday.The Athletics submitted the highest bid and now have 30 days to sign sign Iwakuma, a 29-year-old right-hander from the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles of Japan's Pacific League, to a major- or minor-league contract.--snip--The Seattle Mariners and Texas Rangers also submitted bids for the rights to negotiate with Iwakuma, according to published reports.

Was it only the Mariners and the Rangers who joined the Athletics in submitting bids?

If so, two obvious questions come to mind:

Did the A's know the Rangers and M's submitted bids?


Did the A's submit their bid with the intention of blocking the Rangers and M's?

As near as I can tell, there's absolutely nothing to prevent a team from submitting the highest bid -- that is, offer of a posting fee -- and then making an offer to the player so low that it will almost certainly be declined. The posting fee isn't paid unless the player is actually signed; otherwise the player simply returns to his Japanese team and no money changes hands.

I don't mean to suggest the A's are doing this. Yes, the A's already seem to have enough pitching, and not nearly enough hitting. Yes, you might think the front office would be more intent upon bolstering the lineup than adding another starter to the rotation. But you have to get the talent where you can find it, and let Billy Beane (and David Forst) sort them out later. Plus, you need five starters and the A's have only four -- with due respect to Vin Mazzaro -- who stir any real excitement. Four good starters is good. Five good starters is great.

If the A's do sign Iwakuma, they're only a Rookie of the Year hitter away from the World Series.

If you believe what just happened on the other side of the Bay, anyway.