Good Vibes Only: Talking Ourselves Into Yusei Kikuchi Becoming the Bullpen Ace

Let’s just get this out of the way before we begin. Yusei Kikuchi hasn’t been good at all this season.

In fact, I’d say he’s been pretty awful. Over 83.1 innings pitched, he has a 5.18 ERA and 5.90 FIP with a 13.2 BB%. When you factor in his three-year, $36 million contract (in which he makes $16 million in 2022), things haven’t gone right for him in the slightest.
However, not all hope is lost. Time and time again, I see folks ask how Tampa, Baltimore, and many other teams can find random dudes who become bullpen aces. Well, one of the best ways to find these random dudes is by converting failed starters into relievers.
Let’s look at some of the better relievers in baseball. Edwin Diaz? Started as a starter. Jordan Romano? Started as a starter. Liam Hendricks? You guessed it, started as a starter. Josh Hader was also a starter. Even the best closer in MLB history, the only player to be unanimously voted into the Hall of Fame, Mariano Rivera, was a starter.
When Kikuchi pitches out of the pen, will he be anything like any of these guys? More than likely, no. However, let’s discuss Hader as they have some similarities.
Hader made 95 starts over five years in the Orioles, Astros, and Brewers system, before sticking in the majors as a reliever in 2017. He started 14 games in Triple A …

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Author: Brennan Delaney / Blue Jays Nation

Around the NHL: the Johnny Gaudreau sweepstakes, Evgeni Malkin stays home and Matt Murray to the Leafs

Free agency is set to begin in less than 12 hours, and everybody is wondering where will Johnny Gaudreau end up. While Gaudreau is the most exciting unrestricted free agent to hit the market since John Tavares, there are several other intriguing players available in all price ranges.
We have also seen a few high profile trades in the past seven days and plenty of rumours surrounding other quality players who could be on the move.
Free Agency
As mentioned above Gaudreau is the top unrestricted free agent available. After eight seasons in Calgary, he has informed the Flames organization that he will not be returning. It has been reported that this is solely a family decision. Gaudreau would like to move closer to home as he is expecting a baby.
The New Jersey Devils, New York Islanders and Philadelphia Flyers have been the most common destinations linked to Gaudreau and it seems both the Devils and Islanders are prepared to offer him long-term deals north of nine million per season.
Philadelphia is the closest geographic location to where Gaudreau grew up and his childhood team. They also have his close friend and former college teammate Kevin Hayes locked up for four more seasons. However, they do not currently have anywhere near enough cap space to …

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Author: Scott Ony / The Leafs Nation