Yusei Kikuchi is on his way to Los Angeles to begin his meetings with prospective MLB teams. The Japanese southpaw told Sports Nippon (hat tip to Dylan Hernandez of the L.A. Times) that he hasn’t received any official offers from Major League teams, and he didn’t give away any hints about preferred decisions — Kikuchi only answered “of course” when asked if he was open to joining any of the 30 big league clubs. The 30-day posting window for teams to negotiate with Kikuchi opened on December 4, and representatives from a wide array of teams are expected to make their pitches to Kikuchi in L.A.
More from around the baseball world….
- The Dodgers are open to re-signing Yasmani Grandal, though on a one-year contract, MLB.com’s Jon Paul Morosi reports. Los Angeles is hesitant about adding any new catcher on a longer-term deal, as catching prospects Keibert Ruiz and Will D. Smith are both approaching readiness for the majors. To that end, the Dodgers only had interest in Wilson Ramos on a one-year contract, though they have been heavily linked to J.T. Realmuto (who is controlled through 2020) in trade talks. Morosi figures that the Dodgers could consider moving pitching prospect Dustin May and one of Ruiz or Smith in any potential Realmuto trade package, though that wouldn’t be enough to meet the Marlins’ large asking price. “The Dodgers were balking at the inclusion of at least one key player on whom the Marlins were insisting,” Morosi writes.
- After signing Justin Bour, Angels GM Billy Eppler told reporters (including the Orange County Register’s Jeff Fletcher) that the team isn’t yet sure how the first base/DH playing time will be split up between Bour, Shohei Ohtani, and Albert Pujols. Ohtani will miss at least some time at the start of the season after undergoing Tommy John surgery, and will only be a designated hitter when he does return. Pujols, meanwhile, underwent surgeries on both his knee and elbow last year, leaving it unclear how often the veteran slugger will be able to play first base. “It’s difficult to forecast and we can’t accurately forecast plate appearances for either of those guys [Ohtani and Pujols]. What’s important is to approach those organically and see what the medical team says as we enter spring training, and see what we can do,” Eppler said.
- The Mets have A.J. Pollock and “a couple [of] mystery options” on their list of center field targets, Fancred Sports’ Jon Heyman tweets. Given how aggressive Brodie Van Wagenen has been in his first six weeks as the Mets’ general manager, any number of free agent or trade possibilities could be on the radar. Pollock would almost surely be one of the pricier options available, as his next contract is likely to cost more by himself than the $49MM in free agent dollars the Mets just spent to land Jeurys Familia and Wilson Ramos.
- Yasiel Puig in a Giants uniform? The idea isn’t as outlandish as it sounds, as Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle notes that new Giants GM Farhan Zaidi is “is open to dealing with his old team,” the Dodgers. While it’s quite common for a new general manager to explore players from his former job, the arch-rival Giants and Dodgers have only completed three trades with each other since 1953. Perhaps for this reason, there haven’t been any whispers about the Giants targeting Puig, though there is something of a fit on paper. San Francisco is looking for corner outfielders while Los Angeles is looking to clear payroll and perhaps a spot in their outfield for a larger target, and Puig has been specifically mentioned as a potential trade chip.