Yusei Kikuchi Rumors
Links for Saturday afternoon ...
- Anthony McCarron of the New York Daily News spoke with a baseball executive who believes the Yankees will wind up with Aroldis Chapman. "My bet is that it'll come down to the Yankees and Red Sox, like it always does..." said the executive. "And I think the Yankees will get him. They can give him a big-league contract over five years for $20 million and they don't even feel that."
- The NY Post's Bart Hubbuch reports that the rumored three-way deal involving Milton Bradley, Kevin Millwood and Luis Castillo "isn't happening because the Rangers aren't interested in giving up Millwood so easily." He also mentions that the Mets aren't expected to make any majors moves until the Winter Meetings in two weeks.
- Paul Sullivan at The Chicago Tribune rounds up some Cubs' rumors all in one convenient spot, just like our Cubs archive.
- Meanwhile, Phil Rogers of The Chicago Tribune posted his projections on where some notable free agents will land. He sees Matt Holliday signing with Boston, while both Jason Bay and John Lackey land with the Angels.
- Derrick Goold of The St. Louis Post Dispatch notes that the market for Holliday is diminished because officials from the Angels and Giants said they "would not be vying" for his services.
- The Yankees' biggest focus right now is finding a "common ground" with Johnny Damon, according to Newsday's Ken Davidoff. Hideki Matsui seems to be less of a priority.
- Larry LaRue of The News Tribune says that the Josh Johnson situation in Florida represents the worst-case scenario for the Mariners and Felix Hernandez.
- Patrick Newman of NPB Tracker passes along a report that says Yusei Kikuchi has inked his first pro contract with the Seibu Lions. Kikuchi will not be eligible for international free agency for at least nine years, though Seibu could make him available through the posting process before that.
Some links to read for Thursday morning...
- The AP reports (via the Miami Herald) that the Seibu Lions won the rights to negotiate with top Japanese amateur Yusei Kikuchi.
- Another top young pitcher, Stephen Strasburg, hit 100 mph repeatedly in his third AFL start, according to ESPN.com's Jason Grey.
- Richard Justice of the Houston Chronicle says fans and media members need to hold Astros owner Drayton McLane accountable, and says it wasn't GM Ed Wade's fault that managerial candidate Manny Acta signed with the Indians.
- Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch hears that the Cardinals still have interest in bringing John Smoltz back next year, perhaps as the team's fourth starter. The club seems likely to find a fifth starter within the organization.
- The Pirates and Reds will swap A ball affiliates next year, according to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.
- Padres GM Jed Hoyer offered contracts to all of the organization's scouts and player development personnel, according to Bill Center of the San Diego Union-Tribune.
- R.J. Anderson of FanGraphs expects Tim Hudson to be worth the extension he's expected to sign.
- MLB.com's Joe Frisaro lists the Blue Jays, Mariners, Rays and Mets as possible destinations for Jeremy Hermida. The Marlins may trade the outfielder, who should hit free agency after 2011.
SUNDAY, 8:52pm: NPB Tracker's Patrick Newman brings us his thoughts on Kikuchi's long-awaited decision. On a human level, Newman is happy to see the youngster stay in Japan as the process appeared to be bringing him a great deal of stress. Dealing with the American media at the age of 18 would require a very thick skin.
SATURDAY, 10:05pm: Highly touted left-handed pitcher Yusei Kikuchi has announced that he will stay in Japan after meeting with eight MLB teams and 12 NPB clubs, according to Kyodo News. Kikuchi chatted with the Red Sox, Dodgers, Rangers, Giants, Indians, Yankees, Mets and Mariners before opting not to make the leap to the United States.
Leading up to his announcement, outlets in Japan claimed that the 18-year-old would state his desire to continue playing baseball in his home country. Earlier this month, Patrick Newman of NPB Tracker compiled a scouting report on the hotly sought-after hurler and noted that his dream is to pitch in the major leagues. We may still see Kikuchi in MLB down the road, but not in 2010.
Japanese teenage lefthander Yusei Kikuchi has scheduled a press conference for tomorrow morning according to Patrick Newman at NPB Tracker. Kikuchi is expected to announce whether he'll remain in Japan or come to the United States at the presser.
Patrick passes along two reports which indicate that Kikuchi will remain in Japan, however he qualifies that by saying "we’ve seen a pattern of Japanese media outlets hearing what they want to hear with regards to the highly-regarded lefty." Kikuchi was scheduled to begin meeting with seven MLB teams and a dozen Japanese clubs starting last week. The NPB draft is just five days away, and Kikuchi is expected to be the first overall pick should he remain in Japan.
You can check out all of our Kikuchi rumors here.
Links for Thursday...
- Bad news for D'Backs fans: top prospect Jarrod Parker is headed for Tommy John surgery. Reynolds Sports Management broke the news via their Twitter feed, check it out.
- Red Sox reliever Hideki Okajima has dismissed agent Peter Greenberg in favor of Boston-based Joe Rosen, according to a Japanese report passed along by NPB Tracker's Ryo Shinkawa. Shinkawa takes this as a sign Okajima wants to stay with the Red Sox. He is already under team control through 2012 as an arbitration-eligible player.
- Yusei Kikuchi's NPB-vs.-MLB decision seems to be coming within a few days, says Patrick Newman of NPB Tracker.
- Cardinals manager Tony La Russa is nearing his decision on whether to manage in 2010, says Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports says that "if La Russa manages next season, it will be with the Cardinals."
- Mark McGwire told The Sporting News' Jeff D'Alessio that Albert Pujols would be worth $30MM+ as a free agent.
- Sam Mellinger of the Kansas City Star feels the Royals should consider trading closer Joakim Soria.
- Baseball America's Jim Callis believes it's not far-fetched to think Bryce Harper could fall out of the first round in 2010 due to financial demands (hat tip River Ave. Blues).
- MLB.com's Matthew Leach and Jon Weisman of Dodgers Thoughts expect GM Ned Colletti to focus on the rotation this winter.
Some links before the playoff baseball begins...
- Yahoo's Tim Brown reports that Kevin Towers is at the ALCS. The former Padres GM isn't working yet; instead, he's paddleboarding, golfing and doing pilates.
- The Dodgers don't appear to be going all out for Yusei Kikuchi at this point, but other teams are intensifying their efforts to sign the Japanese teen. As MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan reports, Derek Holland is helping the Rangers pursue Kikuchi.
- Former Marlins pitching coach Mark Wiley tells Joe Capozzi of the Palm Beach Post that he was surprised to be fired, but not as surprised as he was when the Indians fired him after their 1998 ALCS appearance.
- Astros icon Jose Cruz will return to the work for the club's community relations department next year, according to MLB.com's Brian McTaggart.
- MLB players will have more time than expected to file a collusion grievance over last year's free agent market, according to the AP (via ESPN).
Links for Tuesday...
- Chat today, 2pm CST.
- The Hanshin Tigers are interested in Kenji Johjima, according to Kyodo News.
- The Rockies are expected to re-sign GM Dan O'Dowd and manager Jim Tracy this week, according to Patrick Saunders and Troy E. Renck of the Denver Post.
- Dylan Hernandez of the L.A. Times says the Dodgers "are mindful that [signing Yusei Kikuchi] could harm the club's long-standing ties in Japan." Kikuchi told Kyodo News that interviewing with 12 NPB and eight MLB clubs made his decision even more difficult. NPB Tracker has more.
- Richard Justice of the Houston Chronicle says Brad Lidge for Michael Bourn has been "the perfect trade." In that November 2007 deal, the Phillies also received infielder Eric Bruntlett and the Astros also acquired Geoff Geary and Mike Costanzo (Geary is now a free agent). I'd say the Astros may ultimately win the deal if Bourn's breakout season holds up, since they gave up one year of Lidge for five of Bourn. But, as Justice noted, the Phillies have a ring.
- Always fun...Dave Cameron's 2010 offseason plan for the Mariners at U.S.S. Mariner. My one beef is the John Danks acquisition...I don't think it fits from Chicago's point of view.
- Viva El Birdos takes a look at the Cardinals' 2010 commitments.
- MLB.com's Mychael Urban discusses Justin Duchscherer's future.
Links for Monday...
- Slate's Craig Fehrman writes about "the sports media's unique mindset toward [online] aggregators" and how MLBTR fits in.
- On his MLB.com blog, Phillies reliever Scott Eyre suggests he and catcher Paul Bako are reconsidering retirement because they're having so much fun.
- Dodgers GM Ned Colletti told CBSSports.com's Danny Knobler that he offered four players to the Indians for Cliff Lee back in July. Lee instead landed with the Phillies and shut down the Dodgers last night.
- Sam Mellinger of the Kansas City Star believes it's very difficult for fans and reporters to create realistic trade scenarios. Do you agree?
- The Rockies are "ready to finalize deals with general manager Dan O'Dowd and manager Jim Tracy," according to Tracy Ringolsby of Inside The Rockies.
- The Yusei Kikuchi talks are moving along, says NPB Tracker's Patrick Newman. U.S.S. Mariner's Jay Yencich gives his scouting report on Kikuchi. In another post, Newman runs down the interested MLB teams. He notes that the Rangers sent pitcher Derek Holland along with Jim Colburn.
- WEEI's Alex Speier passes along a Dale & Holley appearance by ESPN's Buster Olney. Olney guesses the Red Sox might stop at four years for Jason Bay, and their primary competition will come from the Mariners and Giants.
- ESPN's Peter Gammons discusses Jed Lowrie as Boston's short-term answer at shortstop, with Jose Iglesias as the long-term answer.
- Pete Grathoff of the KC Star writes about the 35-year anniversary of Tommy John surgery.
Some more links on this Sunday evening:
- Terry Pluto of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports that the Indians "are expected to cut their managerial search to five or fewer candidates this week." Pluto advises us not to be surprised if former Nationals skipper Manny Acta is among the finalists. Acta is also in contention for the Astros' job.
- Pluto goes on to write that Cleveland has interviewed ten candidates so far. The aforementioned Acta, Bobby Valentine, Travis Fryman (manager of Indians' single-A affiliate) and Torey Lovullo (Indians' triple-A manager) are among those under consideration. Pluto is in the dark regarding the remaining six, but Mike Hargrove, Tony Pena, Buck Showalter and Phil Garner are not in the mix.
- Padres CEO Jeff Moorad has not gone through his complete list of candidates for the vacant GM job, writes Chris Jenkins of The San Diego Union-Tribune. Of the names that have been floated about, Jenkins characterizes Kim Ng as the "most interesting."
- Now that Bryan Price has agreed to become the Reds' pitching coach, the Marlins could turn their attention to Randy St. Claire, according to Juan C. Rodriguez of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. St. Claire was in his seventh season with the Expos/Nationals franchise before getting the axe earlier this year.
- Yusei Kikuchi will meet with his eight MLB suitors over the course of two days this week, writes Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer.
Let's take a look around the web as we get ready for Dodgers-Phillies:
- Dodgers' hitting coach Don Mattingly tells Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe that he is ready to be a manager. Donnie Baseball expects to be interviewed for openings and would strongly consider accepting one if he is given such an offer.
- Although it has been suggested that Cards' skipper Tony La Russa could take a year off and return to manage in 2011, the 65-year-old won't consider that as an option, writes John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle.
- The Mariners are in pursuit of Japanese pitcher Yusei Kikuchi, according to Larry Stone of The Seattle Times. This is not the first time we've heard Seattle linked to the 18-year-old lefty as they are said to be one of at least seven MLB teams interested in his services.