The prior week in MLB was about a team in the American League signing a player outside the United States, a National League club inks a reliever to a multi-year contract and a team in the AL strengthens their bullpen
Seattle Mariners Sign Japanese Pitcher Yusei Kikuchi to Four-Year Deal
The Seattle Mariners have been a busy team this offseason as they’ve traded talented players to other clubs, but they did something interesting last week by signing Japanese left-handed pitcher Yusei Kikuchi to a four-year deal.
Welcome to Seattle, Yusei Kikuchi!
— Seattle Mariners (@Mariners) January 2, 2019
GM Jerry Dipoto on the signing of the highly-touted Japanese starter. pic.twitter.com/lb7pjFr8wB
— Seattle Mariners (@Mariners) January 2, 2019
It’s official. Welcome to the Mariners, Yusei! 📜✍ pic.twitter.com/z5ZiUBIhzS
— Seattle Mariners (@Mariners) January 3, 2019
The contract is unique as it’s not your typical multi-year deal. The contract is worth $43 million over three years, including a four-year, $66 million extension which can be triggered by the Mariners, per Jeff Passan of ESPN.
Yusei Kikuchi’s novel deal with the Mariners, source tells ESPN: three years and $43M, at which point the Mariners can trigger a four-year, $66M extension. If they don’t, Kikuchi can either opt into free agency or accept fourth-year option at $13M. @JonHeyman had details first.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) January 1, 2019
If the Mariners don’t exercise the option, Kikuchi can either become a free agent or accept a player option worth $13 million in 2022, per Passan.
Kikuchi posted a 3.08 ERA in 163 2/3 innings pitched for the Seibu Lions last year, and in 2017, he compiled a 1.97 ERA in 187 2/3 innings pitched with 217 strikeouts.
The left-hander has a three-pitch mix which features a fastball, slider, and a curveball. He profiles as someone who can be a solid third starting pitcher in a rotation, per Jon Heyman of Fancred Sports.
A significant reason the Mariners were able to sign Kikuchi is they had an exciting plan regarding his innings limit, per Corey Brock of The Athletic.
A big selling point for Boras/Kikuchi was the developmental plan Seattle laid out for Kikuchi.
They will look for ways to lessen the innings burden, but there won’t be a hard cap on innings.
Both sides believe it’s a better way to acclimate him to the big leagues.
— Corey Brock (@CoreyBrockMLB) January 3, 2019
The Mariners won’t put a cap on the number of innings he throws, but every sixth start will be an abbreviated start.
The plan is an excellent way to protect Kikuchi’s arm as he will be transitioning from starting every six or seven days to every five days in MLB.
This was a solid deal for both parties as the Mariners have added a quality arm to their rotation and Kikuchi signed with a team that made him feel comfortable.
Philadelphia Phillies Ink Reliever David Robertson to Two-Year Deal
The Philadelphia Phillies have made a significant addition to their bullpen for next season, by inking reliever David Robertson to a two-year deal.
The contract is worth $23 million as Robertson will earn $10 million in 2019 and $11 million 2020, including a $12 million club option or $2 million buyout in 2021, per Mark Feinsand of MLB.com.
BREAKING: David Robertson has agreed to a two-year deal with the Phillies that guarantees him at least $23 million. He’ll earn $10M in 2019, $11M in 2020, with a $12M club option ($2M buyout) for 2021. He’s passed a physical and the deal is complete.
— Mark Feinsand (@Feinsand) January 3, 2019
Robertson was stellar with the Yankees in 2018 as he accumulated a 3.23 ERA in 69 2/3 innings pitched (69 games) with 91 strikeouts, 26 walks issued, seven home runs yielded, a 136 ERA+, a 2.97 FIP and a 1.03 WHIP.
The right-hander has been a reliable reliever in the majors as indicated by his 2.88 ERA in 11 seasons.
The Phillies have added a quality arm to their bullpen, who can not only pitch during the late innings but also close games as well.
New York Yankees Sign Reliever Zach Britton to Three-Year Contract
The New York Yankees have fortified their bullpen, by signing reliever Zach Britton to a three-year deal, per Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic.
Britton deal with #Yankees is three years for about $40M, source tells The Athletic. NYY can exercise fourth-year option after second year. If they do not, Britton can opt out. Option would take deal beyond $50M. Opt-out details first reported by @JonHeyman and @JeffPassan.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) January 6, 2019
The contract is worth about $40 million, and it includes a fourth-year option the Yankees can exercise after the second year. If the Yankees don’t trigger the option, Britton can opt out.
Britton was solid last year as he split time between the New York Yankees Baltimore Orioles.
The left-handed reliever compiled a 3.10 ERA in 40 2/3 innings pitched (41 games) with 34 strikeouts, 21 walks surrendered, and three home runs allowed.
Britton gives the Yankees another weapon in their bullpen to preserve leads during late-game situations.