NEW YORK (AP) — Star Japanese left-hander Yusei Kikuchi will be available to major league teams starting Tuesday, with the New York Yankees 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.
Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner said last month that he was aware of Kikuchi's ability.