We'll have more on this later, but late Friday night, the Mariners came to terms with Hisashi Iwakuma on a two year contract extension. Iwakuma will be paid $6.5 million in 2013 and 2014, at which point the club will decide whether to exercise a $7 million option for 2015 or to buy out his contract for $1 million. The deal locks in a third member of the rotation for next season (with Felix Hernandez and Erasmo Ramirez being the other two) and pays Iwakuma roughly what he would have received in free agency from Oakland in 2011 had he not injured his shoulder the previous year in Japan.
The signing comes on the heels of Jack Z's comments yesterday afternoon, in which he said that he expects payroll to rise beyond the 2012 season's $85 million total. Counting Iwakuma's deal, the M's still have at least $16 million to dish out this winter. Some of that will likely go to Jason Vargas, but from the sounds of things, the possibility of signing a marquee bat (like Nick Swisher) is very much on the table.