Although everyone is focused on the arrival of 2019, we must also be aware of another countdown – the deadline for Japanese launcher Yusei Kikuchi to sign a contract with a major league team.
The left-handed, who is represented by Scott Boras after being released on December 3, has until 17:00. ET Wednesday to agree, although it is possible to reach an agreement before the new year, according to a source said Mark Feinsand and MLB.com.
For Kikuchi and any Grand Tent team interested in signing it, the pitcher must return to the Seibu Lions – his whole in the Nippon Professional League – if an agreement is not reached during the 30-day trading period. Kikuchi would not be eligible for the post until the next dead season, according to the rules of the system.
Even Seibu would be favored by the tender because the club would have received a sum for leaving Kikuchi to leave his contract, starting from 20% of the guarantee pact to the first 25 million dollars, to 17.5% for the following 25 millions of dollars and 15% for any amount exceeding 50 million USD.
That's why Kikuchi would be the free agent with the biggest pressure to sign as soon as possible, especially because he is one of the best starters available on the open market, which is currently led by Dallas Keuchel.
Kikuchi has launched for Seibu from 2011 to 20 years, but has become one of the best launchers in Japan after the break-up in 2013. In the last six seasons, the southpaw has recorded 875 entries with 2.65 ERA, WHIP of 1.15 and 8.5 strikeouts for every nine chapters.
Jason Catania MLB.com