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Seattle Mariners pitcher Yusei Kikuchi opts out, elects free agency

Sportsnaut
Sep 12, 2021; Seattle, Washington, USA; Seattle Mariners starting pitcher Yusei Kikuchi (18) walks to the mound before a game against the Arizona Diamondbacks at T-Mobile Park. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 12, 2021; Seattle, Washington, USA; Seattle Mariners starting pitcher Yusei Kikuchi (18) walks to the mound before a game against the Arizona Diamondbacks at T-Mobile Park. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Seattle Mariners left-hander Yusei Kikuchi declined his $13 million player option for 2022, according to The Athletic, making him a free agent after three seasons with the club.

The news indicates that the Mariners already had declined a unique team option that would have committed $66 million to Kikuchi from 2022-25.

In doing so, Kikuchi would have been left with a $13 million player option that also included a player opt out, which he used.

Kikuchi, 30, was 7-9 with a 4.41 ERA in 29 starts for the Mariners this past season and had a career-best 163 strikeouts. In 70 starts over three seasons, he was 15-24 with a 4.97 ERA.

While the move makes Kikucki eligible to sign with any MLB team, there is speculation he could also return to Japan, where he pitched for nine seasons with the Seibu Lions.

The Mariners also officially declined the $20 million option for 2022 on veteran third baseman Kyle Seager.

Seager, 34, who will become a free agent, batted .251 with 252 homers and 807 RBIs in 11 seasons with Seattle. He established career bests of 35 homers and 101 RBIs this season but batted a career-low .212 in 159 games.

–Field Level Media