It's ok if your not Japanese enough to read the title, but former Mariners closer Shigatoshi Hasegawa was rumored to have been an influence in Japanese starter Huroki Kuroda's decision to sign with the LA Dodgers over the Mariners. We find out today, that he was not.
"It was not my decision, of course, and until the last one or two days, when he decided to go there instead of Seattle, I thought he would sign with the Mariners," said Hasegawa, an analyst for NHK television, which is televising this weekend's Mariners-Yankees series in Japan. "I don't know why he changed his mind -- that's none of my business -- but I heard his family thought Los Angeles was the best place."
I hadn't heard of this before, but I think that he was genuine about it. Shigi had some great success in Seattle, and with Ichiro and Kenji Johjima - both Japanese - already in Seattle along with the Japanese ownership and such, why wouldn't Kuroda want to come to Seattle? It would only make sense for us to jump to the conclusion that Shigi had something to do with it.
Instead of signing Kuroda, the Mariners decided to go after Carlos Silva, who they signed to a four year deal worth $48M, eight days after Kuroda signed a three year deal worth $35.3M with the Dodgers. So far this season, Silva is 3-0 with a 2.79 ERA in 42 IP, while Kuroda is 1-2 with a 3.82 ERA in the same number of starts, six, as Silva. Looks like the Mariners made the better choice.