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Dodgers replace Zack Greinke with Hisashi Iwakuma, who is not Zack Greinke

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The Dodgers failed to re-sign Zack Greinke, but they got a decent starter in Hisashi Iwakuma for a fraction of the cost.

Jennifer Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Update: Iwakuma failed his physical with the Dodgers, so he has reunited with the Mariners. The Dodgers still need rotation help.

Last week, the Arizona Diamondbacks shocked the baseball world by signing Zack Greinke to a record contract. Many had seen the Dodgers as the favorites to land Greinke, and their failure to sign him left a huge hole in the their rotation. The Dodgers did not wait long to find a replacement, as they have reportedly signed Hisashi Iwakuma to a three-year, $45 million dollar contract.

While Iwakuma is unlikely to come anywhere close to performing as well as Zack Greinke did in 2015, he is still a nice addition for a team that has a lot of question marks in the rotation after Clayton Kershaw. Iwakuma has quitely put together a nice run of success in his time with the Mariners. In his four-year major league career, Iwakuma has posted a 3.17 ERA with a 3.62 FIP and 3.25 xFIP in 653 2/3 innings. Iwakuma's xFIP appears to be a better indicator of his true talent level than his FIP, as it adjusts for both his unusually high career strand rate (78.6 percent) and HR/FB rate (13.8 percent).

Iwakuma's success should not be a secret to major league teams at this point, but he may still end up being a steal for the Dodgers, especially given what they would have had to pay Zack Greinke. Steamer has Iwakuma projected for 184 innings with a 3.20 ERA, good for 3.6 fWAR. Greinke, on the other hand, is projected for 209 innings with a 3.04 ERA and 4.2 fWAR. Iwakuma is projected to provide 82 percent of the value of Greinke in 2016 in terms of fWAR, but the Dodgers got Iwakuma on a contract half as long -- three years vs. six years -- with an AAV less than half that of Greinke ($15 million vs. $34.4 million).

One factor that could have led to Iwakuma receiving a smaller contract is his age. Next year will be his age-35 season, and starting pitchers at that age are always a risk, especially on multi-year deals. As pitchers age, they tend to lose velocity and become more hittable overall. With Iwakuma, this could be a reason for concern, as he has seen a two mile per hour drop in his fourseam and sinker velocity since his debut in 2012. Iwakuma has never thrown hard, but in 2015, his fourseam averaged 89.1 MPH while his sinker averaged 88.5 MPH, according to Brooks Baseball.

The good news for Iwakuma is that he has a deep arsenal of pitches that he is comfortable using in just about any situation. In 2015, Iwakuma threw four pitches (fourseam, sinker, slider, splitter) at least 17 percent of the time and no more than 25 percent of the time. He also threw a curveball nearly eight percent of the time. With his pitch mix, Iwakuma can find multiple ways to get hitters out, and he is able to consistently keep hitters off balance by being harder to predict with his pitch selection. While Iwakuma's velocity may continue to decline, he should be able to age gracefully as long as he maintains his deep arsenal of pitches.

Iwakuma also has a good chance of maintaining his level of success late into his 30s due to his impeccable control. After posting a mediocre 8.3 percent walk rate in his first season in 2012, Iwakuma has nearly cut that rate in half by posting a walk rate below five percent in three consecutive seasons. He refuses to give opposing teams extra baserunners, and he also misses bats enough (21.1 career strikeout rate) to be an above average starting pitcher.

Because of injury issues and a lack of rotation depth, the Dodgers badly needed a starting pitcher to slot in behind Clayton Kershaw, They may have missed out on Zack Greinke, but they got one of the best remaining free agent starters in Hisashi Iwakuma. Iwakuma will cost the Dodgers a draft pick, since he received a qualifying offer, but the Dodgers should still be pleased with this deal, as they got a potential three-win pitcher at a bargain rate of $15 million per season. Iwakuma will not be able to replicate what Zack Greinke did in 2015, but he will likely provide some of the same value at a fraction of the cost.

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Nick Lampe is a featured writer at Beyond the Box Score and Viva el Birdos. You can follow him on Twitter at @NickLampe1.