Dodgers Quick Hits: Yusei Kikuchi, Free Agents, Bryce Harper
By Jacob Rudner
The Mariners could very well have just signed the best free agent that not enough people are talking about. Shohei Ohtani’s former high school teammate, Yusei Kikuchi has signed with Seattle on a four-year pact with upwards of $40 million.
But, Kikuchi’s signing with the Mariners has a far greater impact on the Dodgers than you may think. The Japanese southpaw was one of the Dodgers’ offseason targets. To whatever degree that may have been, Kikuchi and the Dodgers had some sort of connection and Andrew Friedman had at least some interest in coming to terms with the best international player on the market in 2018/’19.
Friedman’s former turned failed interest in Kikuchi could set the stage for a strategy change in this offseason’s approach.
Kikuchi could have kept the Dodgers under the luxury tax threshold and they could have added both Corey Kluber and JT Realmuto alongside him while staying under that magic number. With Kikuchi off the board, Friedman could see the value in abandoning the financially sound plan and going all out for Harper.
It is speculation, yes, but the Dodgers have always been a strategic team that works under a plan. One of the three pieces in a hypothetical plan is now off the board and a change in aggressiveness towards Harper may become more and more apparent.
This is all a guess and yours is as good as mine is but Kikuchi signing with Seattle could have an impact on the Dodgers offseason strategy.