The Seattle Mariners is engaged in a comprehensive overhaul this off-season. This rebuilding agenda aims in acquiring baseball player prospects capable of delivering the best results for the long haul.
With this goal in mind, the team’s management has signed a four-year agreement with Yusei Kikuchi.
The 27-year-old Japanese baseball player will receive $56 million and four simultaneous baseball club options, totaling to $109 million over seven playing seasons.
Kikuchi joins an extensive list of Japanese baseball players who have contributed in the victories and the rich history of the Seattle Mariners.
Ichiro Suzuki is a Japanese professional baseball outfielder who played for the Seattle Mariners from 2001 to 2012 and in 2018.
He has achieved substantial Major League Baseball (MLB) recognitions. Among them is the American League (AL) Rookie of the Year and the AL Most Valuable Player (MVP) accolades.
Known for his first name, Suzuki is also the MLB record-holder with the most hits in a single baseball season.
Pitcher Kazuhiro Sasaki is also a Japanese native who played his whole MLB career with the Seattle Mariners from 2000 to 2003.
Just like Suzuki, Sasaki was also a recipient of the American League (AL) Rookie of the Year award.
In addition, he was chosen to play in the MLB All-Star Game twice during his three-year stint with the Seattle Mariners.
Sasaki’s split-fingered fastball maneuver has been dubbed as “The Fang” by Seattle Mariners radio announcers.
Retired baseball catcher Kenji Johjima contributed in the Seattle Mariners for four years, prior to returning to Japan as a member of the Hanshin Tigers.
He played under a $16.5-million, three-year contract. Since the 1800s, he has been the first catcher to make a home run in his initial two important baseball games.
As Kikuchi joins this roster of exemplary Japanese baseball players who crossed over the United States to fulfill their MLB dreams, the Seattle Mariners management believes that their investment on him is worth it.
Being one of the greatest pitchers in Japan in recent years, Kikuchi is considered to be a Seattle Mariners centerpiece for the next MLB seasons.
With a 3.08 earned run average (ERA), he had 153 strikeouts last year. In addition, he has thrown 163 2/3 innings and possesses a 2.51 ERA in 494 1/3 innings over the past three years.
Kikuchi will serve as a pitcher only for the Seattle Mariners under the agreement which has been officially sealed on Wednesday.