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Why the LA Angels need to stay away from Yusei Kikuchi in free agency

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Sep 23, 2021; Oakland, California, USA; Seattle Mariners starting pitcher Yusei Kikuchi (18) delivers a pitch against the Oakland Athletics during the first inning at RingCentral Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: D. Ross Cameron-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 23, 2021; Oakland, California, USA; Seattle Mariners starting pitcher Yusei Kikuchi (18) delivers a pitch against the Oakland Athletics during the first inning at RingCentral Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: D. Ross Cameron-USA TODAY Sports /
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Yusei Kikuchi has turned down his player option with the Seattle Mariners, but the LA Angels shouldn’t go after him.

Kikuchi joining the Angels will be speculated this offseason, because we need middle of the rotation guys. Kikuchi isn’t one of the players we should be looking after, though.

Kikuchi had a great first half, and there’s no denying that. His second half, however, was quietly horrendous. The Angels would be getting a pitcher who finished the year cold.

Yusei Kikuchi was a very bad pitcher in his last 14 starts of the season, and the LA Angels need to keep that in mind.

In Yusei Kikuchi’s last 14 starts, he pitched to a 6.22 ERA and a .304 BAA. That’s awful, and the LA Angels need to be looking into more sure things for their rotation.

His 5.07 FIP in that time was rough, and so was his 4.41 walks per nine innings rate. He did strike out 9.97 batters per nine, which isn’t bad, but that doesn’t make up for the 1.71 home runs per nine innings he also was responsible for.

Even with Kikuchi having a career year this season, he still has a lifetime ERA of 4.97. There are so many free agent options for starting pitching this offseason, and lots of them are definitely better than Kikuchi.

Kikuchi turning down the option also lets us know that he and his camp think he can get more than the $13 million base salary he would have earned if he picked up his option.

It wouldn’t be worth it for the Halos to pay him like that. He’d be the third best pitcher on the Angels right now, and that’s not even accounting for how the Angels could re-sign Alex Cobb and are likely to go and get another Ace in free agency.

This Angel should receive a QO. Next

No. 5 starters shouldn’t be paid much more than $13 million, especially when they have an ERA over 6 in their last 14 games. The value’s just not there.

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