Carp glove wizard Ryosuke Kikuchi cleared for MLB move

Seven-time Golden Glove Award winner Ryosuke Kikuchi will have a chance to move to the major leagues via the posting system, the Hiroshima Carp said Friday.

The 29-year-old second baseman has won the CL’s fielding award for excellence every season since he became a regular in 2013. After the 2017 World Baseball Classic, Kikuchi began speaking about playing in the majors, and has become accustomed to training in the United States during the offseason.

Last year, Kikuchi publicly revealed that he would like to make use of the posting system in order to play in the majors.

The Carp’s second-round pick out of university in 2011, Kikuchi played 63 games as a rookie in 2012 and has been the team’s regular second baseman ever since.

His development coincided with Hiroshima’s rise to the top of the CL ranks. In 2016, the club won its first of three straight CL pennants after a 24-year pennant drought.

Hiroshima’s run at the top came to an end this season when the Carp finished fourth.

Although the market for position players coming out of Japan has been a soft one compared with that for pitchers, major league scouts have kept their eyes on Kikuchi as a potential big leaguer.

He is the third position player to announce he will seek a major league deal this offseason following DeNA BayStars slugger Yoshitomo Tsutsugo and Seibu Lions center fielder Shogo Akiyama. Tsutsugo is being posted, while Akiyama is a free agent.

The current posting system requires major league teams signing posted players to pay their Japanese clubs an amount equal to a fixed percent of their contract value.