There was a time this offseason, when free agent left-hander Yusei Kikuchi would’ve made some sense for the Cubs. But that time is long in the past. With Marcus Stroman and Wade Miley added to a group that already includes Kyle Hendricks and a quartet of potential big league contributors right out of the gate (Steele, Thompson, Alzolay, Mills), the next Cubs rotation addition should be of the high-velocity, lottery ticket variety.
Oh, and Kikuchi just signed with the Blue Jays. That would also make it pretty hard to sign him.
Left-hander Yusei Kikuchi and the Toronto Blue Jays are in agreement on a three-year, $36 million contract, a source told ESPN. Deal is done and the Blue Jays, who already have a ton of starting pitching, get even better. @JonHeyman was on the news.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) March 12, 2022
Three years and $36 million is a healthy guarantee for Kikuchi, 30, especially given how poor his peripherals were last season (5.23 xERA, rising average exit velocity, declining fastball velocity half-way through the season). But he can probably gobble up some innings for you at an affordable rate. Those guys will always have jobs.
Kikuchi will join a rotation that already has José Berríos, Kevin Gausman, Hyun-Jin Ryu, and Alek Manoah each projecting for OVER 3.0 WAR. That is pretty stacked.