Yankees target Yusei Kikuchi to be posted Tuesday morning

Yankees target Yusei Kikuchi to be posted Tuesday morning

December 3, 2018

The Yusei Kikuchi sweepstakes will officially launch Tuesday morning.

The left-hander can start negotiating with Major League Baseball clubs at 8 a.m. Eastern Time Tuesday, as per a notice distributed to all clubs. The Seibu Lions, Kikuchi’s employer for the past eight seasons, have agreed to post him. Kikuchi must be signed by 5 p.m. Eastern Time on Jan. 2.

While not regarded as highly as Japanese starting pitchers like Yu Darvish, Daisuke Matsuzaka or Masahiro Tanaka, Kikuchi nevertheless is expected to draw widespread industry interest. Yankees managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner acknowledged during the recent owners’ meeting that he watched video footage of Kikuchi during a baseball operations session.

As per the terms of the posting agreement negotiated last year, the Lions’ fee for posting Kikuchi will be determined by the amount of his contract. The more money Kikuchi receives, the more his new club owes to the Lions, as it must pay 20 percent of the first guaranteed $25 million, 17.5 percent of the amount between $25,000,001 and $50 million and 15 percent of the total value exceeding $50 million. Percentages of bonuses, escalator clauses and options also factor into the equation.

— with Joel Sherman and George A. King III

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