The Twins made a bid to sign Japanese starting pitcher Hisashi Iwakuma, General Manager Bill Smith said today, but according to, the winning bid went to Oakland.

From Ken Rosenthal's story:

Iwakuma’s Japanese team, the Rakuten Golden Eagles, have accepted the bid, and now the A's need to negotiate a contract with Iwakuma, who is considered the second-best pitcher in Japan behind Yu Darvish.

The posting process for Iwakuma closed Friday, and the A’s, Rangers and Mariners were among the clubs to submit bids, according to major-league sources.


Iwakuma, 30 in April, posted a 2.82 ERA, 6.9 K/9, 1.6 BB/9 and 0.49 HR/9 in 201 innings this year. ... ESPN's Keith Law ranked Iwakuma as the seventh-best free agent starter available, pegging him as a solid No. 4.

Smith said several Twins scouts have watched Iwakuma pitch, including Howard Norsetter, David Kim, and Terry Ryan, who watched Iwakuma in the 2009 World Baseball Classic.

The fact the Twins made a bid shows they're interested in bolstering their starting pitching staff. Carl Pavano is a free agent, but they still have Francisco Liriano, Brian Duensing, Nick Blackburn, Scott Baker and Kevin Slowey.

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