The countdown is on. Sure, everyone is focused on the arrival of 20-19, however there is another clock ticktocking its way down to zero — that the deadline for star Japanese pitcher Yusei Kikuchi to land a Major League Baseball contract.

The lefty, who’s represented by Scott Boras after being submitted on Dec. 3, has before Wednesday at 5 p.m. ET to sign up a bargain but could do it as early as Monday, a source told MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand. In other words, though the majority of people is going to soon be spending the next few days celebrating the conclusion of 2018 and rejoicing in the onset of the new calendar year, the 27-year-old and his representative might have to put their quest for a contract because priority No. 1.

The countdown is on. Sure, everyone is focused on the arrival of 20-19, however there is another clock ticktocking its way down to zero — that the deadline for star Japanese pitcher Yusei Kikuchi to land a Major League Baseball contract.

The lefty, who’s represented by Scott Boras after being submitted on Dec. 3, has before Wednesday at 5 p.m. ET to sign up a bargain but could do it as early as Monday, a source told MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand. In other words, though the majority of people is going to soon be spending the next few days celebrating the conclusion of 2018 and rejoicing in the onset of the new calendar year, the 27-year-old and his representative might have to put their quest for a contract because priority No. 1.

The threat of Kikuchi, and some other MLB club interested in inking him, is that he would have to come back to this Seibu Lions — his team in Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball — if no agreement has been reached during the 30-day negotiating period. Kikuchi will be faking to be posted until next offseason, according to the rules of the current posting system. The Id stand to gain financially, earning a release fee predicated on Kikuchi’s contract, starting at 20 per cent of their overall fully guaranteed value of this deal up to the initial $25 million, 17.5 percentage of their next $25 million and 15 per cent of any amount north of $50 million. 

Hence, no free agent is under more pressure to find a deal done in the very immediate future than Kikuchi, especially since he’s amongst the very best starting pitchers available in a open market that currently is topped by Dallas Keuchel.

Video: Morosi on potential destinations such as Keuchel, Gray

Kikuchi has pitched for Seibu since 2011 as a 20-year-old, however, he’s become one of Japan’s top pitchers after getting into his or her own in 2013. Over the previous six seasons, the southpaw has compiled 875 innings with a 2.65 ERA, also a 1.15 WHIP and an 8.5 K/9 rate.

That restart, along with Kikuchi’s age and repertoire — he’s a mid-90s fastball and also a whiff-inducing slider, as well as a curve ball and change up — make for enticing and intriguing free agent, person that many think will interpret into a solid mid-rotation starter in MLB. Kikuchi does not come without risks, but including left shoulder issues which have cropped up sometimes and the overall uncertainty surrounding a pitcher that isn’t yet established in The Display.

Nevertheless, if Kikuchi inks with an MLB club, then he also could be the latest in a long lineup of in-their-prime Japanese stars, specially boosters — such as Shohei Ohtani, Masahiro Tanaka and Yu Darvish — who’ve had resounding victory after crossing the Pacific Ocean to examine their own abilities against the best competition on the planet.

Tweet out of @MLBNetworkRadio: Western pitchers coming to the majors isn’t a new thing but how they prepare is that new item according to @JballAllen who combined @jimmemolo and @stevesaxspeaks LIVE out of Tokyo pic.twitter.com/Imr3cZuuwm

Therefore where could Kikuchi sign? Even the rumor mill surrounding him has been quiet recently, perhaps simply because of the holiday season and also that the 2 main names in free service — Bryce Harper and Manny Machado — remain on the board. But the prevailing notion is that Kikuchi prefers nightclubs around the West Coast, that would position him closer to his home land.

Here’s a rundown of teams which were linked to and/or might be great suits for Kikuchi.

Mariners
It has been a lively offseason for Seattle, that is undergoing a roster restructuring under overall manager Jerry Dipoto, who’s exchanged off big titles like Robinson Cano, James Paxton, Edwin Diaz and Jean Segura by having a goal on time for crossover round 20 20. That timeline may work well with Kikuchi, since he will still be in his prime. They have expressed serious attention , as MLB.com’s Greg Johns reported in mid-December, so do not rule them out.

Giants
Along with the Mariners, Bay Area is the team that has been connected most closely to Kikuchi, in accordance with MLB.com’s Jon Paul Morosi. Even the Giants might possibly check out stabilize their rotation, as MLB.com’s Maria Guardado writes, which raises the question: Could landing Kikuchi function as Zaidi’s very first big-time transaction with the Giants, and also potentially help soften the blow off should he windup trading longtime star left hander Madison Bumgarner sooner or later?

Padres
sandiego has been create it understood that it’s seeking a rookie capable of pitching at or near the leading part of the rotation. Armed with a talent-rich farm system on the verge of bearing fruit in The Display within the next year or two, GM A.J. Preller may pick it’s time to pony up and cover to an in-his-prime arm such as Kikuchi to help lead that young wave.

Angels
As a team that’s always been watching for rotation options and depth, the Angels can possibly be a terrific fit. Remember, it was just a year ago that they made a massive splash by procuring Ohtani — Japan’s largest name for a superstar two-way player — and then helped him blossom into a celebrity who continued to get the AL Rookie of the Year Award. On the flip side, the Halos have addressed their own rotation by signing Matt Harvey and Trevor Cahill. On the other? Both of these right-handers inked only one-year deals, which willn’t preclude GM Billy Eppler out of making a play for Kikuchi, notably since Ohtani is going to be inaccessible to pitch next season while he recovers from Tommy John surgery.

Dodgers
on-the-surface, L.A. may not resemble a match. It’s not hard to assume L.A. getting a way to match Kikuchi into the mixture into some role which permits each the club’s arms to get plenty of action and a lot of rest.

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