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Mets showing interest in Yusei Kikuchi

The 30-year-old reportedly has multiple teams competing for his services

MLB: Arizona Diamondbacks at Seattle Mariners Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Free agent starter Yusei Kikuchi has multiple three-year offers, according to Jon Heyman, and though it is not known if the Mets have extended him an offer, they are reportedly in the mix to sign him.

Kikuchi entered the league in 2019 after pitching eight seasons for NBP’s Seibu Lions, where he was a three-time All-Star and the Pacific League ERA and wins leader in 2017. Kikuchi was most famous in the United States for having gone to the same high school as Shoehi Ohtani, and despite being four years older he made his way to the Majors the year after Ohtani debuted.

Kikuchi struggled his first year in Seattle, posting an 80 ERA+ in 32 starts and finishing the season at 6-11. He improved slightly in the shortened 2020 season and make a significant jump in 2021, riding an impressive first half to his first All-Star appearance before falling closer to his career averages. He finished the season 7-9 with a 94 ERA+ in 29 starts, still below his initial expectations but demonstrating improvement.

The Mets are still in the market for a back-end starter, and Kikuchi could fit the position. At the moment the Mets’ starting rotation should feature Jacob deGrom and Max Scherzer at the top, Carlos Carrasco and Taijuan Walker in the middle, with candidates like Tylor Megill and David Peterson looking to fill the fifth spot. Kikuchi could theoretically slot into the fifth position with Megill and Peterson serving as depth should one of the other four experience an injury.