With the offseason now beginning to get into full swing, much of the focus surrounding the highly anticipated 2019 MLB free agent class has revolved around Bryce Harper and Manny Machado.
But even with those two aside, the rest of the market remains flush with a plethora of quality players behind them. Particularly on the starting pitching front, where the likes of Nathan Eovaldi, Patrick Corbin, Hyun-Jin Ryu and Dallas Keuchel are all slated to cash in with lucrative contracts.
A wild card could soon enter the mix as well, as Seibu Lions star Yusei Kikuchi is expected to be posted to all 30 MLB teams in the coming days.
According to Jon Heyman of Fancred, the southpaw has reportedly hired Scott Boras to represent him ahead of his potential jump to the Majors:
Yusei Kikuchi, lhp being posted by the Seibu Lions, will be repped by the Scott Boras company
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) November 5, 2018
If and when he’s eventually posted by the Lions, Kikuchi would be free of international spending restrictions and could negotiate a contract with all 30 MLB clubs.
The 27-year-old enjoyed a solid 2018 campaign in the Japan Pacific League, going 14-4 with a 3.08 ERA and 1.03 WHIP over 163.2 innings pitched (23 starts).
That’s despite missing some time in May with shoulder tightness, which attributed to a decline in both strikeouts and fastball velocity.
Even after extending Clayton Kershaw, the Los Angeles Dodgers could very well pursue Kikuchi if the opportunity presents itself.
“Obviously, we’ve watched him pitch a lot,” president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman said at his annual end-of-the-year press conference. “He’s extremely talented. If and when that becomes an opportunity, we’ll focus more on it.”