Toronto Blue Jays News

Blue Jays: Ranking the 10 worst contracts in the AL East

Aug 3, 2022; Bronx, New York, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher Gerrit Cole (45) reacts during the first inning against the Seattle Mariners at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Aug 3, 2022; Bronx, New York, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher Gerrit Cole (45) reacts during the first inning against the Seattle Mariners at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports /
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Blue Jays
Jun 30, 2022; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher Yusei Kikuchi (16) throws a pitch to the Tampa Bay Rays during the sixth inning at Rogers Centre. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports /

2. Yusei Kikuchi

Yusei Kikuchi signed with the Blue Jays this offseason to try and round out what was supposed to be a really good starting rotation. At the time I did not think the signing made much sense, and it turned out to be worse than I thought it would have been.

Kikuchi has gone 4-7 with a 5.18 ERA in 21 appearances (20 starts) prior to his disastrous relief appearance on Tuesday night. Just about everything that had gone wrong for the southpaw in Seattle has gone wrong for him in Toronto thus far.

Kikuchi has walked an absurd 5.4 batters per nine innings. This issue has caused him to reach very high pitch counts early on and has often put the Jays in early holes. The Blue Jays have gone just 6-14 in his starts while going 59-41 otherwise.

Kikuchi has allowed 19 home runs in 83.1 innings pitched, 2.1 HR/9. If he had enough innings to qualify, that’d be the second highest mark in baseball. He has also gone less than five innings 13 times in his 20 starts and has worked into the sixth inning just four times.

Walking a ton of batters while allowing as many home runs as he does has predictably ended up being disastrous for the 31-year-old.

Kikuchi does strike out 10 batters per nine, so the stuff is there. It’s a shame he can never seem to locate it. He was just moved to the bullpen and despite some bumps, he did get through a scoreless inning in his first relief appearance. The Blue Jays have to rely on someone like Mitch White to make big starts for them down the stretch tells you all you need to know about how this contract has gone.

Kikuchi has two years at $10 million dollars each season left on his deal. While that is not the most money ever given, it might inhibit the Jays from adding another starter, which they desperately need to do this offseason.

I’d be surprised if he made it through those last two years in Toronto. It was, and still is, a bad contract. But on the bright side, it is not the worst one in this division.

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