Kikuchi Rings in New Year with Mariner Signing

Interesting choice to sign with a club on a rebuilding path. Even though Yusei Kikuchi had stated he was open to negotiating with all 30 major league clubs another Japanese player signed with a west coast club. This puts a ceiling on their economic viability, discouraging east coast teams from bidding on players they probably have no shot of signing. When your market size is six instead of 30 your offers are limited. The next Japanese free agent who states he will consider all 30 major league clubs will not get as many offers from some of the east coast teams, knowing they will not be strongly considered.

Reports are that it was a four year contract, with the last year a player option. That player option can be replaced by another four year deal. The 30 day window was expiring on January 2. The Mariners will pay the Seibu Lions a percentage of his contract, which may end up being a two part payment if his option is exercised after the third year. Dollar terms of the contract have not yet been announced.

By mid-year the Mariners rotation could be Marco Gonzalez, Yusei Kikuchi, Justus Sheffield and Justin Dunn, with whoever survives the Felix Hernandez, Wade LeBlanc and Mike Leake early year shelling.

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