Yusei Kikuchi

Getty/Hamish Blair

Report: Rangers To Pursue Japanese Star Lefty Kikucki

December 03, 2018 - 3:49 pm

NEW YORK (AP) — Star Japanese left-hander Yusei Kikuchi will be available to major league teams starting Tuesday, with the Texas Rangers expected to be among those interested.

The 27-year-old Seibu Lions ace will have until Jan. 2 to sign a contract with a big league club. The Lions would then receive a posting fee based on the dollar amount of the pitcher's contract.

If Kikuchi doesn't reach a deal with an MLB team, he remains with Seibu.

Kikuchi was 14-4 with 3.08 ERA this season, and was 16-6 with a 1.97 ERA the previous year.

Kikuchi, who played for the same high school as two-way star Shohei Ohtani of the Los Angeles Angels, is 73-46 with a 2.77 ERA in eight seasons in Japan.

According to TR Sullivan of MLB.com, The Rangers will be an "ardent suitor" of Kikuchi. Texas is likely to have a lot of competition for the left-hander due to the recent success of Yu Darvish and Ohtani since their arrival to the big leagues. 

Scouts from the Yankees, Giants, Red Sox, Dodgers, Phillies, Brewers and Rangers were in attendance for a Kikuchi start in September, Kyodo News' Jim Allen reported.