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Iwakuma declines Mariners' offer

Veteran starting pitcher Hisashi Iwakuma rejected the Mariners' $15.8 million qualifying offer on Friday, as expected, officially making the Japanese right-hander a free agent.

The Mariners will receive a compensatory Draft pick at the end of the first round if Iwakuma signs elsewhere this offseason. Compensation picks will be made in reverse order of teams' winning percentage from the 2015 season.

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Iwakuma has gone 47-25 with a 3.17 ERA in four seasons with the Mariners, posting a strikeout rate of 7.6 and a walk rate of 1.7 while averaging 163 innings per season.

The 34-year-old gave up 13 runs (12 earned) in 16 1/3 innings in his first three starts of 2015, then missed seven weeks with a strained lat. Upon returning in early July, Iwakuma posted a 3.10 ERA in his final 17 starts, finishing the season with a 3.54 ERA over 129 2/3 innings.

Iwakuma -- an All-Star who finished third in American League Cy Young Award voting in 2013 -- will enter a star-studded free-agent class highlighted by fellow starters David Price, Zack Greinke, Jordan Zimmermann, Johnny Cueto and Mike Leake.

Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez and Facebook, and listen to his podcast.
Read More: Seattle Mariners, Hisashi Iwakuma