May 27, 2022


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Blue Jays to sign Yusei Kikuchi

Blue Jays to sign Yusei Kikuchi

The Blue Jays have signed left-footed bowler Yossi Kikuchi, according to MLB Network’s John Heyman. It’s a three-year contract worth $36 million. (Twitter linksThe deal is ready. According to Bob Nightingale from USA Todaywith Kikuchi earning a salary of $16 million in 2022, followed by $10 million in both 2023 and 2024.

Starting promotion has been a hot commodity this season, with most of the big names signed before closing. Now that the transaction freeze has been thawed, the market has completely rebounded from where it left off. The two biggest free-client throwers that have remained in the market through the shutdown, Clayton Kershaw and Carlos Rodon, signed on on the first full day after the shutdown ended. This made Kikuchi and Zack Greinke the only healthy starters left MLBTR Top 50 Free Agents List. With Jays storming Kikuchi, this leaves Greinke as the last man standing.

Kikuchi has been one of the toughest shooters to rate since coming from Japan before the 2019 season. In his first MLB season, he made 32 starts with the Mariners, throwing 161 2/3 runs with an ERA of 5.46 and a strike rate of just 16.1%. In the abbreviated 2020 campaign, he made nine posts that still had a high ERA of 5.11, but he made significant strides in the strike division, increasing his rate to 24.2%.

2021 was the tale of two seasons for Kikuchi, with the first half of his season being excellent. At the beginning of July, MLBTR’s Steve Adams He wrote about Kikuchi’s season near the halfway mark, when Kikuchi had started 15 times and was sitting on an ERA of 3.18, strike rate of 25.4%, walk rate of 8.5%, and globe average of 53.8%. But things went exactly the opposite way in the second half of the season, with Kikuchi throwing 63 2/3 runs from that point on, with a 6.22 ERA, 23.3% strike rate, 10.3% walking rate, and 41.7% ground ball. .

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As part of the unusual structure of Kikuchi’s contract, at the end of the season, the sailors then had to decide whether to execute a series of four one-year options valued at $16.5 million each, effectively a four-year term, of $66 million. That would cover the 2022-25 seasons. After they declined, Kikuchi could have picked a $13 million one-year player option for 2022. Although there seemed to be an opportunity to accept this deal after his poor performance, he eventually declined and tested the free agent market. It has now proven to be a wise decision, as he secured a new contract at that set rate but tripled.

The Blue Jays are clearly encouraged enough by Kikuchi’s strengths to overlook his weaknesses, just as Robbie Ray and Stephen Matz have. Although these two bowlers had serious flaws in their résumés, they both continued excellent campaigns with Jays in 2021, with Ray receiving the American League Cy Young award. Although Ray and Matz will wear a new uniform this year, Kikuchi still joins a strong cycle. The club also added Kevin Gusman prior to the shutdown, joining Jose Berrios, Hyun Jin Ryo and Alec Manoah.

More is coming.