MLB Free Agent Rumors: Yusei Kikuchi Agrees To Creative Contract With Mariners
Yusei Kikuchi
The Asahi Shimbun via Getty Images

Although it didn’t come with the same fanfare as Shohei Ohtani being posted last winter, the Seibu Lions making Yusei Kikuchi available for all 30 MLB clubs added a wrinkle to free agency this winter.

At 27 years old, the left-handed pitcher was permitted to negotiate a contract with team and didn’t face the same financial restrictions as Ohtani. The Los Angeles Dodgers, San Francisco Giants and New York Yankees were mentioned as potential suitors for Kikuchi.

He hired Scott Boras as his representation and was said to have traveled to Los Angeles during the middle of December to hold meetings with interested teams. Then, just before the New Year, it was reported Kikuchi flew to Seattle to meet with the Mariners.

Shortly after came news of an agreement being reached on a four-year contract that could expand to a seven-year deal with the Mariners, per Jon Heyman of Fancred:

Kikuchi’s contract with the Mariners came one day ahead of his posting window coming to a close. Had he not struck a deal with an MLB team, Kikuchi would’ve remained in Japan with the Lions. Instead he makes the jump stateside after eight seasons pitching overseas; he spent part of 2011 in the Australian Baseball League.

Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman intimated the club would be interested in Kikuchi if or when he was officially posted. However, it’s unclear how aggressively the Dodgers may have pursued him, if at all.