The San Diego Padres will be able to officially bid on former Japanese star on December 5th.
Beginning December 5th, every major league franchise may begin their bidding for former Seibu Lions ace pitcher, LHP Yusei Kikuchi. Represented by prominent agent Scott Boras, Kikuchi has been connected to the Los Angeles Dodgers, Boston Red Sox, Philadelphia Phillies, and the San Diego Padres.
The Padres are actively attempting to upgrade their starting rotation, a rotation that posted a 5.09 earned run average, the highest mark in the National League and 27th-worst in Major League Baseball. Thus far, the Friars have been connected to New York Mets starter Noah Syndergaard, former Boston Red Sox starter/reliever Nathan Eovaldi, Seattle Mariners Mike Leake, among others.
Currently, the Padres starting rotation consists of LHP Clayton Richard, LHP Eric Lauer, LHP Joey Lucchesi, with Robbie Erlin, Matt Strahm, Brett Kennedy, Jacob Nix, and many others set to compete. While Kikuchi profiles as a back-end starter in the big leagues (a few evaluators believe he can be a two or three in a starting rotation), he is an instant upgrade to the 2019 rotation.
We profiled Kikuchi and took a look at the pros and cons of signing him, from the San Diego Padres perspective, and decided that at a projected $40-$50 million price tag, bringing the 27-year-old to San Diego wouldn’t be a bad idea.
Once his posting becomes official on December 5th, MLB teams will have 30 days to negotiate with Kikuchi and sign him to a contract. He was expected to become the first Japanese high school baseball player to move straight to an MLB team, however, the former ace of the Seibu Lions chose to stay home in the Pacific League, racking up 73 wins and a sub-2.80 earned run average.