#4: Yusei Kikuchi: 2019-2021: 3 years/$51.775 million (includes posting fee)
I know that Yusei Kikuchi was an All-Star for the Mariners in 2021. He was having a great season too. Here’s his stat line for 2021 through his first 15 starts.
- 3.18 ERA, 93.1 innings, .195/265/.353, 93 Ks
I leave it there because there were worrying signs that it wouldn’t last. A 4.30 FIP. 31 BBs. 15 HRs. .221 BABIP. None of those are good indicators of continued success. Yes, it seemed like if he could get rid of the darn poorly timed home runs, he would be having an incredible season. Instead, here is what he posted over his next 14 starts.
- 6.22 ERA, 5.07 FIP, 63.2 innings, .304/.385/.532, .374 BABIP, 12 HR, 31 BB
It was ugly, and it was often. If you think that maybe I’m over-reacting because of a bad stretch, why don’t we take a look at his career numbers for the Mariners.
- 4.97 ERA, 4.93 FIP, 1.403 WHIP, 3.2 BB/9, 1.6 HR/9, .267/.332/.474, 90.2 Exit Velo, 2.3 WAR
Do you know what’s even worse? You could argue and make a case that in his first 15 starts, he provided more than a 2.3 WAR. If anything, it was around that number. This means that when you take up the remainder of his Mariners career, he was a negative overall.
You could see the talent there. Kikuchi would be amazing sometimes. When you weigh it all together, though, what the Mariners paid for Yusei mixed with the production that they received from him makes it one of the worst contracts that the Mariners have ever signed.