The Seibu Lions announced that left-handed starting pitcher Yusei Kikuchi was officially posted to all 30 MLB teams on Monday morning.
Kikuchi now has 30 days to negotiate a contract or he will stay put with the Lions in Japan’s Pacific League. Any MLB team that wishes to contact the southpaw must be willing to pay a release fee.
The deadline for MLB clubs to submit their respective bids is Jan. 2, 2019 at 2:00 p.m. PT. Kikuchi recently hired Scott Boras to represent him through the process.
The 27-year-old enjoyed a solid 2018 campaign with the Lions, going 14-4 with a 3.08 ERA and 1.03 WHIP over 163.2 innings of work (23 starts). That’s despite missing some time in May with shoulder tightness, which attributed to a decline in both strikeouts and fastball velocity.
Kikuchi is only one season removed from posting a superb 1.97 ERA and 0.91 WHIP in 187.2 innings pitched. He owns a career 2.81 ERA with 925 strikeouts in 1,035.1 innings.
The Los Angeles Dodgers are among the early teams to express interest in signing Kikuchi. Even after working out new contracts with both Clayton Kershaw and Hyun-Jin Ryu, the club is clearly interested in adding another starting pitcher.
Under the current collective bargaining agreement comes new rules in regards to signing international players. The Lions are slated to be paid 20 percent of Kikuchi’s total guarantee if he signs a contract worth $25 million or less.
Should Kikuchi ink a deal in the range of $25-50 million, the posting fee moves up to $5 million plus 17.5 percent of the amount above $25 million.
Finally, if the value of Kikuchi’s contract is north of $50 million, then the amount owed to the Lions will be $9.375 million plus 15 percent of the amount above $50 million.