HIROSHIMA – Six-time Golden Glove-winning second baseman Ryosuke Kikuchi said Friday that he has informed the Hiroshima Carp of his desire to move to the major leagues via the posting system next year.
“If I don’t put up good numbers next year, I can’t go,” the 28-year-old Kikuchi told a news conference after agreeing to a ¥240 million ($2.16 million) contract for 2019. “I was able to communicate that my intention was to motivate myself.
“A lot of ballplayers want to go further, to play at the highest level, and I am one of those.”
Kikuchi told Kyodo News this summer that he was keen to play in the majors and had begun training in the United States during the offseason. He will not be eligible to file for international free agency until at least the end of the 2021 season.
Kiyoaki Suzuki, Hiroshima’s head of baseball operations, said he would not discuss Kikuchi’s request.
“I cannot talk about posting,” he said. “Even though he is talking, we have nothing to say about it at this time.”
Kikuchi is the third Japanese player who is apparently eying a jump to the majors in 2020 — moves that would prevent them from playing in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Yokohama BayStars cleanup hitter Yoshitomo Tsutsugo has asked to be posted next year, while Seibu Lions center fielder Shogo Akiyama turned down a contract that would have kept him in Japan for the 2020 season.
IN FIVE EASY PIECES WITH TAKE 5