The Seattle Mariners released a question and answer with pitcher Hisashi Iwakuma after he agreed to a two-year extension for $14 million.
Iwakuma was one of the few nice surprises for the Mariners last year as the Japanese veteran did quite well as a rookie in the MLB. He finished the year 9-5 with an ERA of 3.16 over 16 starts.
The Mariners released the transcript of his Q&A on Monday with the help of his interpreter Antony Suzuki. Iwakuma sounded quite happy with his current position in the Mariners organization as well as the players he is surrounded with.
First and foremost, I am very happy with how the Seattle Mariners treated me throughout the season and for their evaluation in me as a starter. We have great teammates here along with an outstanding coaching staff. My family was a big factor in our decision, but we are very happy and satisfied with Seattle and we look forward to staying for at least 2 years.
Iwakuma said he feels most comfortable as a starter, and after finishing the year as strong he will most likely break camp in the Mariners' rotation. Iwakuma was used sparingly at the beginning of the year, only making five appearances total in April and May. He made his first start on June 27 and finished the year winning his final three starts.
There was a lot I learned this year as a reliever in the beginning, just a whole new experience in a different role. I was very happy given the opportunity to become a starter again, and am glad I was able to show what I can do.
Iwakuma will join Felix Hernandez and Jason Vargas as the surefire bets for the Mariners rotation as the team aims to speed up the rebuilding process and avoid the AL West cellar for the fourth year in a row.