SEATTLE — With time running from his 30 day window to sign with a Major League club, Japanese pitching standout is visiting Seattle to meet up with , according to sources.

The 27-year-old left hander is just one of those prime free agent starters available this off season, but he must either sign up for an MLB team by 2 p.m. PT on Wednesday or else he has to return to the Seibu Lions, his team in Japan’s Nippon Professional League, for the 2019 season.

SEATTLE — With time running from his 30 day window to sign with a Major League club, Japanese pitching standout is visiting Seattle to meet up with , according to sources.

The 27-year-old left hander is just one of those prime free agent starters available this off season, but he must either sign up for an MLB team by 2 p.m. PT on Wednesday or else he has to return to the Seibu Lions, his team in Japan’s Nippon Professional League, for the 2019 season.

Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto has traded off a number of prominent veterans this off season whilst reworking his roster with younger prospects in taking aim toward a push in 202021, but he’s expressed strong interest in registering Kikuchi and making him part of that upcoming wave.

“I don’t believe Kikuchi is going to be registering a one-piece bargain, so he should be quite capable to be truly part of that which we’re trying to accomplish,” Dipoto said at the Winter Meetings in December. “Now if he wishes to come here or not, then I can’t let you know “

But Kikuchi is curious enough to stop by Seattle after spending the prior two weeks at Los Angeles meeting teams and highlighting the field with agent . It’s not yet known when he’s visiting any other MLB clubs prior to announcing his choice.

He has a mid-90s fastball and a superior slider.

“He’s very excellent. His operation speaks for itself,”” Dipoto said. “He has real stuff, and he’s had plenty of success in Japan. We’ve probably scouted him as every other player in [Nippon Professional Baseball] in the past few years, just because he’s been around for a number of years and we’ve had a lot of volume”

The Mariners made a huge push for twoway star last off season before he signed up with the Angels. But Seattle has a strong history of Japanese players and the club’s majority ownership was that the Japanese-based Nintendo of America by 1992-2016.

Iwakuma spent the past seven seasons as a starting pitcher with Seattle, though he dealt with shoulder problems last season, and he’s now returned to Japan to finish out his career.

The Mariners don’t possess some Japanese players in their 40-man roster, though Ichiro shut out last season because of a special assistant to the chairman with the club,” he’ll undoubtedly soon be invited back into Major League camp this spring and awarded a opportunity to make a roster spot at least to the two-game season-opening series at Tokyo against the A’s in March, when the club could carry two extra players.

That strong Japanese connection amounts as a incentive in recruitment Kikuchi.

“I think so,” Dipoto said at the Winter Meetings. “We’re a great market for virtually any player, indeed, but a pitcher. And specifically a pitcher from Japan, because we provide a lot of comforts that make us unique one of the MLB markets with your great diversity in the metropolis, and the way our economy has obtained the star players from Japan and really maximized their potential, whether that’s from the marketing and advertising perspective or within the community.

And some of this comes from the market. We have a terrific Japanese-American community. We’re significant within our sway organizationally, if it was Nintendo or people amazing players and the direction that they’re still connected in some way into the company “

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