San Francisco Giants Vice President of Baseball Operations Farhan Zaidi looks to have a different approach to roster building.
This includes scouring the international market for talent. He has done his homework on Japanese pitcher Yusei Kikuchi, and there appears to be mutual interest for the San Francisco Giants.
Kikuchi has posted a 2.81 ERA in 8 seasons in the Japanese Pacific League. This includes a 3.3 BB/9 and 8.0 K/9 ratios. These numbers have been trending in the right direction in recent seasons.
Those are good numbers. However, Kikuchi comes with some noticeable red flags as well. In 8 seasons, he has only thrown 1,035.1 innings. That is only about 129 innings per season, which is not a lot.
Kikuchi may not be able to be counted on for 32 starts a season. However, his durability seems to have improved in recent seasons as he has pitched over 150 innings in both 2017 and 2018.
Much of Kikuchi’s limited durability is due to an extensive injury history.
These are the types of injuries that would concern anyone in the market for pitching. Regardless, this is public knowledge, and the Giants have factored that into their evaluation.
They have done their homework, and appear okay with his injury history. In fact, the Giants may even have an edge in the bidding for Kikuchi.
Kikuchi is said to prefer a team on the west coast. The San Francisco Giants just so happen to play in a city on the west coast called San Francisco.
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And then there is this:
If you connect the dots, the Giants seem to not only be in the mix for Kikuchi, but could be leading the race. The Seibu Lions are expected to post Kikuchi in the near future. The team that wins the bidding will hold exclusive negotiating rights.
The tea leaves suggest that Farhan Zaidi will target free agent pitchers. The Giants have 4 or 5 starting pitchers currently on their 40-man roster.
However, Zaidi’s past suggests he likes having more than 5 competent starting pitchers on his rosters.
So, while the San Francisco Giants have been mostly quiet at the Winter Meetings, they seem likely to target Kikuchi. And, since there appears to be some level of mutual interest, it is possible that the Giants reel him in.