Japanese LHP Yusei Kikuchi, who the Yankees scouted in late-September, has been posted by the Seibu Lions. And he's now repped by super-agent Scott Boras.
In addition to the Yankees, the Giants, Red Sox, Dodgers, Phillies, Brewers, and Rangers were among the teams on hand to watch Kikuchi on Sept. 28, and he will soon be available to the highest bidder.
Under the new posting rules that went into effect last offseason, Kikuchi will have 30 days to negotiate with all teams. If he agrees to a contract, a portion of it will go to his old Japanese team as their release fee.
And it would make sense for the Yankees, who have huge holes to fill in their rotation, to be among the bidders for the 27-year-old Kikuchi, who is known for his "electric arm."
"It is always a bit tricky to find MLB comparisons for Asian league players," Sung Min Kim wrote for FanGraphs in February when discussing Kikuchi. "The closest I can think for Kikuchi is Patrick Corbin, another lefty starting pitcher who features a heavy fastball-slider combo. However, Kikuchi does throw a curveball around 10% of the time, whilst Corbin does not really feature it. Another good comparison could be early-career Clayton Kershaw."
According to Kim, one concern about Kikuchi is his injury history, which limited his innings pitched prior to 2016.
"Whoever bids big on him is also rolling the dice for his good health in the future," Kim noted. "If he is able to stay healthy and translate his newfound efficiency to the majors, then he'll be a formidable rotation weapon."
Kikuchi had a 3.08 ERA and 1.03 WHIP with 153 strikeouts in 163.2 innings (23 starts) for Seibu this past season.
During his eight-year career in Japan, he has a 2.81 ERA and 1.17 WHIP with 925 strikeouts in 1,035.1 innings.