A's fail to reach deal with Iwakuma

Sports Network

, Last Updated: 11:26 PM ET

OAKLAND - The Oakland Athletics failed to come to an agreement to bring Japanese pitcher Hisashi Iwakuma to America.

The A's had won the right to negotiate with the right-hander back in early November, and had a window of 30 days to reach a contract agreement. However, their efforts have fallen through as of Monday.

"We would like to express our appreciation to the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles for the opportunity to negotiate with Mr. Iwakuma and we regret that an agreement could not be reached by today's deadline," said Oakland general manager Billy Beane.

"In this instance, the player was in a unique situation, being only one year away from free agency, and we fully respect and understand his position."

Iwakuma, widely considered the second-best pitcher in Japan behind Yu Darvish, pitched the last six seasons for Tohoku of the Pacific League. He was 10-9 last year with a 2.82 earned-run average, but was the league MVP in 2008 when he won 21 games for the fifth-place Eagles.

The 29-year-old hurler helped pitch Japan to a World Baseball Classic title in 2009 and earned a spot on the All-Tournament Team that year, as he pitched to a 1.35 ERA -- the lowest of any pitcher that threw at least 15 innings.


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