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« on: 12 April 2019, 05:23 »

SEATTLE (AP) — Yusei Kikuchi smiled wide for the cameras [link=http://www.yankeesfanproshop.com/authentic-aaron-judge-jersey]Aaron Judge Jersey[/link] , pointing to the back of his No. 18 jersey — a celebrated number for Japanese pitchers. In the city where one of his childhood idols, Ichiro Suzuki, became a major league star, Kikuchi is eager to prove he belongs in America, too.“Thank you for this new journey,” Kikuchi said.The prized Japanese left-hander was introduced as the newest member of the Seattle Mariners on Thursday, a day after signing a four-year deal with options that could make it a seven-year stay in the Pacific Northwest. The 27-year-old Kikuchi spent more than 40 minutes answering questions about why he wanted to come to the majors and why he chose Seattle.Kikuchi answered the vast majority of the questions from English-speaking reporters in English. His answers were brief, but it was a sign of how long he’s wanted to play in the majors. The dream started when he was 15, and Kikuchi knew if he was going to realize it, English would be an asset.A fastball ticking into the mid-90s helps, too.“I want to practice hard and adjust myself. I want to enjoy every single thing [link=http://www.yankeesfanproshop.com/authentic-gleyber-torres-jersey]Gleyber Torres Jersey[/link] ,” Kikuchi said.Kikuchi also has an array of offspeed pitchers, part of his resume as one of the top young pitchers in Japan. Kikuchi was posted by the Pacific League’s Seibu Lions on Dec. 4. Under the rules in the November 2017 posting agreement, he had until Wednesday afternoon Seattle time to sign with a major league team.Seattle is planning to limit Kikuchi’s innings while keeping him on the regular rotation of starting every fifth or sixth day. To make that happen, general manager Jerry Dipoto said there may be times Kikuchi goes through his normal routine but only throws one or two innings.The Mariners might use that plan for a few of their young pitchers over the next few seasons. Kikuchi and agent Scott Boras are on board.“I really felt with a player of this ability that we had the opportunity to restructure a new format to how we’re going to acclimate them to this environment,” Boras said. “Jerry being a former pitcher, I raised this, we talked about the data that I had assimilated and talked about, let’s do something that is going to help you long term and help the player become something that is more what we do with our youth here.”Kikuchi’s deal is unusual in its structure, but falls in line with Seattle’s approach to its new lefty. The deal is worth $56 million guaranteed over four years, but could be worth up to $109 million over seven seasons if options are exercised. He receives a $6 million signing bonus and salaries of $8 million this year, $14 million in 2020 and $15 million in 2021. The agreement includes a $13 million player option for 2022 [link=http://www.yankeesfanproshop.com/authentic-tyler-austin-jersey]Tyler Austin Jersey[/link] , and Seattle has options worth $16.5 million annually for 2022-25.On the surface it appears to be a winning combination for the player and the team. Kikuchi gets to acclimate to the majors without the pressure of being thrust onto a pitching staff that needs him to carry big innings and be a major contributor from the start. Seattle gets a lower upfront cost for a possible major return if Kikuchi develops into a frontline starter. And the structure of the deal allows for potential opt-outs at three and four years if the sides believe the relationship isn’t working, but provides the opportunity for Seattle to lock up Kikuchi through 2025 during a stretch the Mariners hope to again be contenders.Boras said there were teams interested in Kikuchi that would have put him right into the heart of their rotations with the expectations of throwing 170 or more innings in 2019. That won’t be the case in Seattle.“It was more about where Yusei ends up than where he begins,” Dipoto said. “We know we’re getting very talented young players who is focused and high character. This is about step one in a development that will allow him to achieve his upside as a major league player, and we think it’s considerable.” The Toronto Blue Jays are reportedly expected to trade both third baseman Josh Donaldson and outfielder Curtis Granderson on Friday, according to Bob Nightengale ofUSA Today.Teams must acquire players by midnight ET on Friday night in order for them to be eligible to play in the postseason.Since the Blue Jays are out of the American League playoff race at 60-73 and both Donaldson and Granderson are set to hit free agency, Toronto's best bet is to offload them to the highest bidders.From 2013-2017, Donaldson was one of the best offensive players in all of Major League Baseball.He is a three-time All-Star, and he won the AL MVP award with the Jays in 2015 after hitting .297 with 41 home runs and 123 RBI.The 32-year-old veteran has struggled with injuries this season, and he is currently on the disabled list with acalf injury.While Donaldson hasn't played since May 28, he is currently on aminor league rehab assignment.In just 36 games this season, Donaldson is hitting .234 with five homers and 16 RBI.Donaldson averaged 33 home runs and 98 RBI per year over the previous five seasons.The 37-year-old Granderson has been a pleasant surprise for the Blue Jays in 2018 [link=http://www.yankeesfanproshop.com/authentic-clint-frazier-]http://www.yankeesfanproshop.com/authentic-giancarlo-stanton-jersey[/link] , spending time at all three outfield positions.Granderson is hitting .243 with 11 home runs and 35 RBI in 103 games this season.The former Detroit Tigers, New York Yankees, New York Mets and Los Angeles Dodgers star is a three-time All-Star who would be a solid fit as a backup outfielder and pinch hitter for a contending team.While he is nearing the end of his career, he still has some popand hit at least 19 home runs in 11 of 12 seasons entering 2018.For his career, Granderson has 330 homers and 900 RBI.Both players are expendable for the Jays, especially Donaldson, due to the presence of top prospect Vladimir Guerrero Jr., who figures to join Toronto on a full-time basis in 2019.
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