Dodgers Showing Interest in Lefty Pitcher Yusei Kikuchi

yk2

According to the Japan Times, southpaw pitcher Yusei Kikuchi will be posted during the upcoming week, allowing all 30 MLB clubs to bid for the services of the 27-year-old. And, even though the Dodgers are as stacked as they come with lefty starting pitching, they’re among the many squads to be interested in bidding.

As it stands now, left-handers Clayton Kershaw, Hyun-Jin Ryu and Rich Hill will all be part of the Los Angeles 2019 Opening Day rotation, barring injuries or any unforeseen setbacks. It’s not yet known where 22-year-old lefty Julio Urias will begin the season, but he’ll undoubtedly slot into the rotation at some point in the year. Additionally, southpaws Caleb Ferguson and Alex Wood—who would likely be starters for just about any other club in baseball—will likely begin their 2019 campaigns in the bullpen, so long as they’re both part of the squad. With a potential acquisition of Kikuchi, the Dodgers could conceivably have the most dominant left-handed staff in the bigs, if they don’t already.

Exactly how well Kikuchi adjusts to MLB hitting remains to be seen, but at the moment, he’s widely regarded as the best starting pitcher in all of Japan. He has eight professional seasons under his belt, all with the Saitama Seibu Lions of the Japan Pacific League. He was named a JPL All-Star three times. Last season, Kikuchi posted a 14-4 record with a 3.08 ERA alongside 153 strikeouts and 45 walks in 23 starts over 163-2/3 innings of work. His banner year came in 2017, when he registered a 16-6 record with an impressive 1.97 ERA and a career-high 10.4 K/9 in 187-2/3 innings.

Kikuchi threw for the same high school as Angels’ star Shohei Ohtani. During his career in Japan, he has gone 73-46 with a 2.77 ERA in 158 games—153 which were starts—totaling 903 strikeouts over 1,010-2/3 frames. He’s been especially effective over the last three seasons. From 2016-18, Kikuchi went 42-17 with a 2.51 ERA in 71 starts, with 497 strikeouts in 494-1/3 innings.

Kikuchi can crank his heater into the 96-98 range (which is uncharacteristic of Japanese pitchers), but he’s better known for his diverse repertoire, which features above average offerings of a slider, a splitter and a curveball. Some scouts believe Kikuchi has the ceiling of a No. 2 starter in the MLB.

According to recent reports, in addition to the Dodgers, the Padres, Giants and Mariners have expressed interest in Kukuchi.

He is represented by Scott Boras.

Once posted, teams will have 30 days to negotiate a deal.

 

Advertisements

42 thoughts on “Dodgers Showing Interest in Lefty Pitcher Yusei Kikuchi

  1. I think the Giants would be willing to spend substantially more for Kikuchi than we would. Their starting pitching is a total mess and for us he would be just another addition (albeit a good one) to an already full staff. If Farhan grabs him, the Giants fans will at least be happy for a few minutes.

    Like

  2. Ya snooze, ya lose…..now being reported that the Mets, who just completed the trade for Diaz and Cano, are in conversations with the Indians about Kluber. Friedman is too much of a wallflower to get out on the dance floor.

    Like

      1. I have stuck to my guns since he took over. I think he still has that small market mentality and I also think that with the team under the luxury tax, he is under a mandate from ownership to stay there for at least a few years. That’s why I think that there is zero chance that Machado, Harper, or any other free agent of consequence are even on their radar,

        Like

      2. Yes, the Dodgers could easily have bettered the deal of a AA OF and a 25 year old RHRP with a 5.71 ERA and higher FIP. Why isn’t it just as logical that Friedman did not want to spend $7MM on Gomes when they can spend less for Martin Maldonado who has a cannon behind the plate? Led MLB with 49% CS%. Both Angels and Astros pitchers said they like throwing to Maldonado. He frames well. That may not mean much to most fans, but it is critical for Friedman. I am not going to get too exercised because Friedman did not pull the trigger on Gomes. Besides,I think most fans were in on Gomes hoping that he could be included with Kluber.

        Some think that Andrew wants Realmuto. I do not think that the Dodgers can compete with Houston if they are willing to include Kyle Tucker. Tucker is a better prospect than top Dodger prospect Verdugo. They will stay involved as long as they can, but if Houston wants him, the Dodgers will be out.

        I still think the prize can be Kluber, if they can get him from Cleveland. It will take at least Puig, probably one of Stripling/Maeda or equivalent, and then a couple of prospects not named Lux or May. Who and how many, is anybody’s guess right now.

        We haven’t even hit the WInter Meetings. Way too soon to make any judgements as to what the Dodgers might do in the offseason.But I do agree that they will not break the CBT threshold.

        Like

    1. Why would you think just because the Mets are talking with the Indians that Friedman is out of it? Callaway is the one pushing for Kluber, but I do not think the Mets have enough to get him if Friedman wants him. Syndergaard is not going to do it. The Tribe is willing to give up Kluber for a RHH OF and prospects which the Mets do not have after the trade with Seattle. But the Dodgers do. This is a big deal for Cleveland, and they are going to take their time to get the best deal they can. Why shouldn’t they? It is a long time before pitchers and catchers report.

      Like

      1. Jef, the voice of reason. By the way, where did you lose that second f. Was it an accident, or were you just careless and left it someplace. I know it’s a pain to comment regularly on two different sites but I usually agree with your takes both as Jef and AC. Hope you’ll continue to throw around your two cents worth over here.

        Like

      2. Because as history so far has shown, Friedman does not like bidding wars, especially when it comes to prospects. He will part with what he feels he can spare without draining the farm system. I have no doubt they are still in discussions, but the Modus Operandi of Friedman does not inspire confidence. The Indians will do the best deal they can I am sure of that. They hold the cards because they have the player that teams want. I also think that even though Friedman is kicking the tires on this, it had a lot more chance of being done had he been able to fill the hole at catcher at the same time. Their weakness is not starters, it is the bullpen and second base. I personally think if he was going to get Kluber, he should have been more aggressive than he is. I think unless he has a replacement in mind that although Puig might be the center piece of a trade, it makes the defense weaker in RF. There is not a player on the Dodgers who is as good an outfielder as Puig is in right. My opinion mind you. Verdugo has tools, but he has proved nothing other than he is a very good AAA player. They are not going to sign Harper. Which would mean if Puig is traded for Kluber, or Bauer or who ever, there would be a platoon situation out there as there is in LF. It is already bad enough that they have no real leadoff hitter without removing the best arm in the outfield. As everyone says their strength is their depth. I think their depth is also an illusion. Because expecting guys not playing regularly to be consistent is an unreal expectation.

        Like

      3. About 80 days until they report to AZ. Yep there is time, and I do think they will make some moves, I just think Friedman stays on program and does nothing major. Unless it is a salary dump of Kemp, I doubt very seriously that he does anything major.

        Like

      4. Bearone48, I understand why people believe that Friedman will not do anything major. I agree that it is usually not his MO. But most of the Friedman bashers did not believe he would trade for Machado, and yet he did. Whether it turned out well or not, it cost the Dodgers the only RH OF bat that was close to ML in Yusniel Diaz, a projectable back of the rotation starter in Dean Kremer, and a power relief prospect in Zach Pop. None of those three may become solid ML players (or all three may), but Machado did not bring a WS championship as was hoped. It would have cost Seager (and I do know this), to get Hamels in 2015, so I am very glad that he did not. I also understand that the hangup for Chris Sale at the 2016 trade deadline was Julio Urias. I do not know who else was in it, but I would have been very tempted to pull the trigger on that deal. Friedman does like holding onto his prospects, but if you look at the top teams, most of them are home grown. How many 6+ year $150MM+ FA contracts worked out. Scherzer yes. Kershaw yes. How many have not? More than those two. How is that Ellsbury contract, or Pujols or Prince Fielder…? It is easy just to spend $$$ on players based on past performances. I would rather draft and develop homegrown talent and hold onto them for years.

        To Jeff D, when I signed up to post a couple years back, that was the name that came up for me and so it stuck. But I am a Jeff D. as well so jef576 works just fine. I will generally post when the discussions are civil, and this site it is very civil. I have always liked the discussions here. But you are right that it is hard to write and comment for one site and comment on another. Sleep is overrated.

        Dennis, I agree that many catchers will get moved/signed. I am not convinced that Yan Gomes and $8MM commitment (including $1MM buyout of option) is better than a less expensive Martin Maldonado. And while I do not believe that the Dodgers can offer more than the Astros (or Yankees) to the Fish for Realmuto, they are still going to inquire on him. As long as it is possible, why not hold out hope? There really is no other game-changing catcher. I also think that it is possible that they are letting the market drop for Wilson Ramos. The more the Kurt Suzuki’s, Jeff Mathis’, and Brian McCann’s sign, the less Wilson Ramos can demand. It is a waiting game for Friedman, and if there is a game changer (like Machado or Yu Darvish were supposed to be) Friedman will make a move. Even he knows that how the Dodgers are structured now, they will be heavy underdogs for a 3rd consecutive WS.

        Like

      5. Sooner (if we trade Puig this winter) or later (if he leaves after 2019), we’re going to have to address the absence of a right handed hitting outfielder. I don’t believe Peters will ever be more than a 4th outfielder. Some have suggested trying to get Stanton. That’s a lot of money and a lot of strike outs but I wouldn’t be horrified at the thought (nor would I be particularly thrilled). I may have overlooked someone but the only two free agents next winter that I think would even merit consideration are Eaton and Ozuna which leads me to the thought of whether it would make any sense at all to offer Puig an extension. I am convinced that if he played every day he would be able to hit left handers at a rate which would be acceptable. I’m sure he loves L.A. so might actually be amenable to a 3-4 year extension at a somewhat reasonable price. Any takers?

        Like

      6. “It would have taken Seager to get Hamels.” And yet they settled for much less. The ask is always large. If the Phillies demanded our top prospect, and at the time a top 7 prospect in all of baseball, why didn’t they demand the Rangers top prospect? They didn’t. They got the Rangers #3, and #31 overall, Alfaro, and the #47. I remember that debate, spearheaded by Mr. Disagreeable. He said it would take Seager AND Urias. Nonsense. I argued then we could have made that deal with a package led by Urias, #10, or even better, Pederson, #18 at the time. I believed Hamels would have put us over the top. Still do. Old debate. Machado didn’t really cost that much, our #4, 84 overall, and some change. Our system was higher rated then. And we still don’t have that championship.

        I agree Friedman isn’t likely to make any headlines this winter. The Dodgers are content to contend and stay under the cap. But in the words of Slip Mahoney, it is fun to expectorate.

        Like

  3. In our cases it is all just opinion anyway. I doubt any of us know what is going on behind the scenes. We are just not tuned into that. I have seen nothing from Friedman that has made me think he is going to change his track record. If he does indeed make a deal for a major player, I will be as happy and surprised as anyone. There are a few on twitter who are pushing for them to make a trade for Corey’s brother, Kyle. I absolutely am pretty positive that is not happening.

    Like

    1. I agree that none of us know, but it is fun to conjecture and play armchair GM (at least I like to). As I said above, Friedman did trade for Machado, so he will make a big trade if he believes it will push them over the top. I do agree that he will not sign any big FA. No on Harper, Keuchel, Corbin, Machado, Eovaldi…And I agree that there is zero discussion going on between Friedman and Dipoto on Kyle Seager. But it would be cool to have both Seager brothers play together. Takes me back to the three Alou brothers who played with SFG (Felipe, Jesus, and Mateo) for one year, 1963. Two of them played multiple years together but all three played together in 63.

      Like

  4. Looks like DiPoto has another one ready to go. Details not announced yet but Segura goes to the Phils for Crawford among others. Let’s trade Friedman for DiPoto with the proviso that you should always be careful what you wish for.

    Like

    1. I will wait to see who else besides Crawford is going back. Segura is the place setter the Dodgers could have used, but unless the M’s were willing to take a Kemp contract, the Dodgers could not have traded for Segura without going over the CBT threshold. If Santana is going back with Crawford, then I think the Dodgers missed on one. However, I have heard that Segura is not a great clubhouse presence, and that he insists on playing SS. That would not work for LAD, and it will be interesting to see what this does for the chances for Machado. They both cannot play SS. Machado said he is willing to play 3B only for NYY.

      With respect to Puig, he does have reverse splits, but I am not opposed to signing him to an extension. Wood is going to need to be moved, and maybe Joc to give LAD enough breathing room for Puig who will undoubtedly want an AAV north of $15MM. I am with you on DJ Peters. Anyone who strikes out 190+ times in AA is probably going to make Chris Davis look like Brett Butler with bat to ball skills.

      Like

      1. Speaking of place setters Jef what do you think of Merrifield? Do you think it would take too much to get him considering we have Lux a couple years away? Actually it would probably take Lux to get Merrifield. Assuming the other pieces wouldn’t be too onerous, would you do that?

        Like

      2. It would take Lux plus, but I still do not see Merrifield leaving KC. Dayton Moore loves Merrifield. Merrifield does not want to leave KC. And the fans absolutely love Merrifield. I have family in KC and if they trade Merrifield they said there would be big time fan revolt.

        Like

  5. Jeff, don’t you think LaMahieu could do the same thing as merrifield? He can be signed for a couple years at a reasonable rate, and we can save the prospects for another deal.

    Like

    1. I prefer Merrifield to LeMahieu at this stage of his career, but I wouldn’t hate it if DJ wound up in a Dodger uni next season. And you do have a point Keith, in that whomever we don’t use in a Merrifield deal could be used to get someone else. Anyway, you don’t have to worry about Merrifield. Jef’s family won’t let them trade him to us. 🙂

      Like

  6. Looks like Santana is in the deal. With segura in philly it Would seem the Phillies are out on machado. So Harper to Philadelphia, Machado? He’ll probably fall in the Yankees lap just like Stanton did last year. Damn Yankees, and damn CBT

    Like

  7. What in the heck is Dipoto doing, is he really accomplishing anything, it seems like he is taking on almost as much salary as he is getting rid of. Thankfully our little brothers in Anaheim dodged that bullet.

    Like

  8. According to everything I have read this evening the Phillies are still in on Machado. Segura did not get along with the Mariners manager, and he had a fight last year with Dee Gordon. Everything I have read so far about Merrifield is that the Royals want a lot in return. Kind of like the kings ransom the Marlins want for Realmuto. When the Dodgers traded for Machado it was a 5 for 1 deal. The only player who had MLB time in the trade was Valera, all the others, Bannon, Pop, Diaz and Kremer were in the minors. Diaz and Bannon were at Tulsa and Rancho respectively. Bannon was leading the team in homers when he was traded. He had 20 and was hitting over .300. He fell off a cliff in the Orioles system and only hit 2 more the rest of the year and was down by the Mendoza line. Bannon plays 2nd and 3rd. Diaz went in the tank after the trade also. He is not really what one would call a power bat. He only had 6 HR’s at the time of the trade, and only hit 5 the rest of the way. He also was hitting over .300 at Tulsa, but hit only .239 for the O’s Bowie affiliate. Look, Friedman in the 4 years he has led the team has stepped out of character twice with Darvish and Machado. And the results have not been great. The best move he made besides trading for Machado last year was picking up David Freese, who was just awesome as a Dodger and was one of their best hitters in the playoffs. When you look at the Machado trade in a few years it may or may not have been a good deal. One thing it does get is mixed reviews. Machado’s batting average dropped 47 points as a Dodger. His power was close to what it was in Baltimore with 13 homers in 66 games, but his K rate jumped. His slugging percentage dropped close to 100 points and his OBP dropped 49 points. So he clearly was not the same hitter he was in Baltimore. Learning new pitchers probably had something to do with that, But his playoff and World Series numbers are not that good at all. While he did hit close to .300 in the NLCS, in the Series and the NLDS he was under .200 with 7 hits in 9 total games. He struck out 18 times in 66 at bats. So he was far from being a superstar in the post season and he stranded a lot of runners in those series. I don’t profess to know all there is about running a team, and I am not ever going to say I could do it better, but as a Dodger fan following this team as long as I have, I can say without any reservation that it has been done better. Andy needs to change his stripes and sometimes take a risk. But I also am beginning to believe that the owners have given him a mandate to keep the payroll under the tax, and for that reason, I do not see him signing any big ticket players. Sooner or later, they are going to have to win it all to keep the fans engaged. Getting close is just not going to cut it for this fan base. Especially since most fans know how rich these guys are and how much money they can invest in players if they really wanted to.

    Like

    1. As I said above, I don’t see Friedman making any headlines this winter. He is content to contend and has his orders to stay below the cap. Still waiting for clarity there, but don’t expect to get it. I have a friend in the finance biz that really believes the Dodgers will be sold.

      There will be improved teams in the NL. But without doing a thing the West is still ours. So – why spend?

      Like

      1. I’m waiting to see a comment from a fan on any site that says “I don’t give a crap if we ever win the WS again just so long as we make the playoffs every year.” I do see tons of comments like yours Scoop and yours Bear which indicate that the fans have run out of patience and are demanding a title. Granted, this is a small sample size but I firmly believe that the ownership keeps tabs on this kind of stuff and they realize they need to go do whatever it takes to win a world championship. Once they do it, they can slack off for a couple of years if necessary. So…………..I’m going to be the contrarian again and say that I think between now and July we are going to see some major moves. I think Friedman’s laid back personality leads people to believe he’s afraid to make big moves. What is it they say about ducks staying calm above the surface and paddling like heck underwater? Just you wait! (The preceding statement has been a paid political announcement)

        Like

      2. I think it really helped that the Rangers are going to be pretty sad for the next few years. Probably one of the few other teams CK would have considered.

        Like

      3. You may be right although I think the baseball landscape is changing and considering his recent injury history and reduced velo the new-look front offices might have found that difficult to do. Ten years ago, absolutely. By the way, I think both Machado and Harper might be surprised not to get the contracts they expected, either in total dollars or length. I realize they are both very accomplished and quite young, but I just think that the “new numbers” say don’t go crazy. Maybe we’ll see a GM try to go ridiculously high AAV but not as many years as expected.

        Like

      4. I think you are right. Why spend money on Harper to get a .889 OPS when you can yank a guy like Muncy out of Triple-A to produce a .973 OPS. That’s also the reason why you see guys like Ethier retiring early.

        Like

  9. I agree with Jefe on this one. 5/150 is something you give studs who are still short of 30. Guys who have had back surgery, and are clearly past their prime get a respectful extension

    Like

  10. Doc gets his extension, 4 years. Actually they call it a 4 year contract so maybe all 4 years are at a higher salary. No $ announced yet.

    Like

  11. As a friend once said, there’s no crying in baseball. But now that Roberts is back, the crying has begun. I know a few who might head to the emergency ward over this one.

    Like

  12. I’m normally on board for the Dodgers to sign as many of the Asian players as possible to keep their dominance cemented in that part of he world but this is one I think we should pass on. While talented I don’t see him as being more than a mid rotation guy and we have plenty of people for that role. If you are going to spend money on a free agent starter I would try to do a deal with Charlie Morton. He is right handed, was dominant last year and at his age we could probably get him on a reasonable short term deal. I would take a chance and give him 3 years $50 million to slide in to that #3 spot between Buehler and Ryu.

    Like

      1. Exactamundo. Unless Friedman is planning on Barnes being the guy, they need catching and bullpen help and that’s where the focus should be. BUT< you can never tell where Friedman's mind is going.

        Like

    1. Good idea Alex. I haven’t heard his name mentioned but he’s a Friedman kinda guy. Only problem I see is he’s a mid 30’s player, but 150 innings of 3.5 should be easy enough for him in LA. Friedman likes to give those guys $16 million so 3 at $48mm oughta do it.

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.