Hot Stove Rumor Roundup: Boras to Represent Japanese Stud Kikuchi

Photo: Japan Times

Good morning, Mets fans. Welcome to today’s edition of the rumor roundup. The hot stove is slowly heating up, and with the GM Meetings set to get underway, more moves and rumors should be in the cards.

The Mets themselves had a busy day yesterday, as they shook up their coaching staff and were loosely speculated to be linked to Manny Machado. Be sure to check MMO for all that news and more.

Here’s what’s been going on around the rest of the league…

Boras to Represent Japanese Pitcher, Yusei Kikuchi

While he is not set to make waves in the media as much as Shohei Ohtani did last winter, Yusei Kikuchi is the next big player to come out of Japan.

With that being said, the pitcher has chosen to have super agent Scott Boras represent him as he makes the leap from Nippon Professional Baseball to the MLB, according to Jon Heyman of FanCred.

Kikuchi, 27, is a bit of gamble as he has had shoulder issues, but will likely still get a decent contract. MLB Trade Rumors predicts he will get somewhere in the range of six years, $42 million.

Kikuchi will not be the first player from Japan Boras will represent, as he also represented Daisuke Matsuzaka a decade ago.

Yankees Interested in Sabathia Reunion, Likely to Deal Gray

The Yankees have some work to do on their starting rotation this winter, and there have been some advancements in incumbent players.

Long-time Yankee, C.C. Sabathia, is interested in a reunion with the Bombers, while Sonny Gray who has struggled in pinstripes is gauging some trade interest and could be dealt this winter, according to GM Brian Cashman.

Sabathia, 38, has been with the Yankees since 2009. In 2018, he pitched to a 9-7 record with a 3.65 ERA in 29 starts (153.0 IP). A move to the bullpen could be beneficial to Sabathia, but at the very least it could benefit the Yankees to bring him back for the fact that he’s a great clubhouse presence.

Gray, 28, came over to the Yankees last year from Oakland, but struggled heavily in 2018. In 30 games (23 starts), he went 11-9 with a 4.90 ERA. The pressure of New York might be too much for the Tennessee native, and a change of scenery may be beneficial.

There are several appealing names on the market the Yankees could choose to pursue in the starting pitcher category, most notably Patrick Corbin, who their is speculation the Yankees could pursue.

Joe Maddon’s Fate to Be Decided at Conclusion of 2019 Season

Joe Maddon has been the Cubs manager since 2015, and led Chicago to a World Series championship in 2016. His contract expires after the 2019 season, but President of Baseball Operations, Theo Epstein, says they will not talk contract extensions this winter.

Maddon, 64, managed two season with the California Angels in the ’90s, before minding the store for the Tampa Bay Rays from 2006-14.

In his career, Maddon has one World Series championship and one American League pennant under his belt. He also owns a career .543 winning percentage (1,168-990).

“We’re not running away from Joe in the least,” Epstein said, “but given that we all have things that we’re working on to get more out of this team and to be one game better than we were last year, this is the appropriate move.”

Other Quick Hits

  • The San Francisco Giants are working to replace longtime President of Baseball Operations, Brian Sabean, and are interested in Dodgers’ GM Farhan Zaidi and would like to extend him an offer, according to Jon Morosi of MLB Network.
  • Michael Brantley will hire Excel Sports Management to represent him this winter. The longtime Indian was finally healthy in 2018 and will likely take his talents elsewhere this offseason, according to Devan Fink of SB Nation.

About Rob Piersall 1163 Articles
Rob Piersall is a fourth-year student at SUNY New Paltz, studying journalism with a minor in communications. He is also the managing editor for his school's newspaper, The Oracle. A Mets fan since the age of six in 2001, Rob is senior editor here at MMO. His favorite thing is reporting breaking Mets news and transactions as well as writing columns. He is also ready to see what Mickey Callaway brings to the table in 2018. LGM! Follow Rob on Twitter: @RobPiersall.