While the Los Angeles Dodgers have been tied to a multitude of trade scenarios involving a starting pitcher, another potential option for them and other clubs is Japanese star Yusei Kikuchi.
As expected, he was officially posted by the Seibu Lions on Dec. 3. That marked the start of a 30-day window for any MLB team negotiate a contract with the left-hander. If a deal is not reached, Kikuchi would remain in Japan’s Pacific League.
While he isn’t as heralded as Shohei Ohtani, who made the jump stateside last winter, Kikuchi is certainly talented enough to provide a boon to any rotation.
As translated by Dylan Hernandez of the L.A Times, the 27-year-old recently traveled to Southern California for meetings with teams as he awaits a contract offer:
Sports Nippon: Yusei Kikuchi boarded an LA-bound plane for meetings with potential suitors. Asked if he's OK with all 30 teams, he replied, "Of course." Said he still hasn't received any formal offers. https://t.co/PPIX1FOHSZ
— Dylan Hernandez (@dylanohernandez) December 16, 2018
The Dodgers are among the teams that are expected to explore potentially signing Kikuchi. President of baseball operations Andrew Friedman recently intimated there would be interest if or when Kikuchi was posted.
Despite missing time this past season due to shoulder tightness, Kikuchi went 14-4 with a 3.08 ERA and 1.03 WHIP over 163.2 innings pitched across 23 starts. That came one year after posting a 1.97 ERA and 0.91 WHIP.
Under the MLB current collective bargaining agreement, the Lions are due to receive 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 increases 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. Kikuchi is represented by Scott Boras.