NEW YORK – The agent for Japanese southpaw Kazuhisa Ishii rejected the first contract offer from the Los Angeles Dodgers on Friday, saying the former Yakult Swallows ace deserved more money and a longer contract.
While details of the offer were not available, agent Joe Urbon said he made a counter offer to the Dodgers which Los Angeles media was speculating was in the neighborhood of $11 million over three years.
“The offer that we’re making follows Mr. Ishii’s wishes,” Urbon said, adding that the offer from the Dodgers was just their opening offer. “We don’t think this is their final offer.”
The Dodgers won exclusive negotiating rights to Ishii last week after submitting an $11.26 million bid to the Japan Series champion Swallows.
Under the posting system established between Japan and the major leagues, the Dodgers have 30 days to conclude a contract with Ishii after Yakult accepted the bid offer from Los Angeles.
In the 2001 season, Ishii helped Yakult win the Central League pennant and Japan Series championship while going 12-6 with a 3.39 ERA.
The 28-year-old joined Yakult in 1992 as a first-round draft pick and has a 78-46 career record with a 3.38 ERA and 1,277 strikeouts in 1,184 1/3 innings, leading the CL in strikeouts in 1998 and 2000.
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