• Kyodo News


Hisashi Iwakuma and the Oakland Athletics are negotiating again, The San Francisco Chronicle reported in its Tuesday edition.

According to the Chronicle, two sources say Iwakuma, who has been posted by the Tohoku Rakuten Eagles, and the Athletics have resumed talks and that it is not “out of the realm of possibility that Oakland will get the Japanese pitcher signed by the Dec. 7 deadline.”

The Athletics, who would not budge from their initial offer of $15.25 million over four years, could be willing to fork out $9.5 million a season for Iwakuma counting the posting fee, the Chronicle said.

Oakland put up $19.1 million to win the 30-day exclusive negotiating rights for the 29-year-old Iwakuma, the Pacific League MVP and the Sawamura Award winner in 2008.

Iwakuma’s agent Don Nomura had said the Athletics told him that they do not have the budget to improve their offer.

The figure cited by the Chronicle would stand to give Iwakuma an annual raise of approximately $1 million from his current salary with Rakuten, which will lose out on the $19.1 million should the right-hander and Oakland fail to strike a deal.

The Minnesota Twins have won the rights to negotiate with Chiba Lotte Marines shortstop Tsuyoshi Nishioka.

Lee signs for Orix

KOBE (Kyodo) South Korean infielder Lee Seung Yeop, who was released by the Yomiuri Giants at the end of the season, has joined the Orix Buffaloes, the Pacific League club said Thursday.

The 34-year-old Lee, who did not see much playing time with Yomiuri this past campaign, put pen to paper on a one-year deal worth ¥150 million plus performance related bonuses.

Lee will be back playing in the PL for the first time since 2005, when he was with the Chiba Lotte Marines.

Lee joined Lotte in 2004 and moved to the Giants two years later. He has a .267 average with 144 home runs and 388 RBIs in Japanese baseball.

In 2010, he batted just .163 with five homers and 11 RBIs in 56 games.

“I wasn’t able to put up the sort of numbers I’d liked to have these past few seasons and respond to the expectations of the fans,” Lee said in a club statement.

“I want start afresh in new surroundings and show what I am really capable of.”

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