April 11, 2021

A Seattle Signing That Didn’t Work Out In 2019 (MLB Trade Rumors)

Japanese left-hander Yusei Kikuchi entered the majors with quite a bit of fanfare heading into the 2019 season. At that point, Kikuchi was coming off a terrific eight-year tenure as a member of Nippon Professional Baseball’s Seibu Lions, with whom he posted a 2.77 ERA and put up 8.0 K/9 against 3.3 BB/9 across 1,010 2/3 innings. Kikuchi parlayed that run into a high-paying contract with the Mariners, who signed him to a four-year, $56MM guarantee. It’s an unusual deal – one that could keep him in Seattle for as few as three years and as many as seven, as MLBTR’s Jeff Todd and Steve Adams explained at the time.

For now, the Mariners may be disappointed in their investment. Kikuchi struggled mightily during his first major league season, and there don’t seem to be many clear reasons to expect a turnaround. Starting with some optimism, it’s nice that Kikuchi amassed 161 2/3 innings, approaching the career-high 163 2/3 he accrued during an NPB season. But while Kikuchi ranked a…

Read “A Seattle Signing That Didn’t Work Out In 2019” at MLB Trade Rumors