Hisashi Iwakuma's agent critical of A's

SENDAI, Japan -- The agent for Japanese pitcher Hisashi Iwakuma says the Oakland Athletics were insincere after his client was unable to reach an agreement with the major league team.

Don Nomura said because Iwakuma could become a free agent next year, Oakland did not appear to be that bothered whether a deal could be reached or not.

"They knew he was just one year away from free agency, and they never showed any respect," Nomura said Wednesday, a day after the Athletics announced they were unable to reach an agreement to sign the Japanese pitcher during the exclusive 30-day negotiating period.

Oakland won the negotiating rights to the 29-year-old right-hander in early November under the bidding treaty between Major League Baseball and the Japanese commissioner's office.

Iwakuma will return to his Japanese team next season while Oakland gets back the $19.1 million posting fee they paid to negotiate with the player.

The pitcher wanted a total package comparable to the $126 million, seven-year deal signed by San Francisco left-hander Barry Zito before the 2007 season when the 2002 AL Cy Young Award winner left the A's for the other side of the bay.

Japanese media had reported that Oakland made a four-year proposal worth $15.25 million. In terms of annual salary, it is equal to what Iwakuma made with the Eagles of Japan's Pacific League.

"Their offer was low and they weren't sincere," Nomura said.