The Seattle Mariners have signed Japanese left-handed pitcher Yusei Kikuchi to a four-year deal just ahead of the deadline for him to sign with a major league club or be forced to return to Japan for another season.

Seattle made the signing official Wednesday after word first surfaced of an agreement late on New Year’s Eve. Kikuchi was one of the few starter options remaining on the market and he will be joining a team with a long history of success with Japanese players.

Kikuchi was posted by the Seibu Lions of Nippon Professional Baseball in Japan in early December.

Kikuchi was 14-4 with a 3.08 ERA for Seibu last season.

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In this Sept. 28, 2018, photo, Japan's Seibu Lions Yusei Kikuchi pitches during a match in Tokorozawa, northwest of Tokyo. (Takahiko Kanbara/Kyodo News via AP)
In this Sept. 28, 2018, photo, Japan’s Seibu Lions Yusei Kikuchi pitches during a match in Tokorozawa, northwest of Tokyo. (Takahiko Kanbara/Kyodo News via AP)

Source: The Associated Press

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