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Kikuchi chooses free agency after Mariners decline option

Left-handed pitcher Yusei Kikuchi is leaving the Seattle Mariners after the team declined a club option on the All-Star and Kikuchi opted for free agency.
Credit: AP
Seattle Mariners starting pitcher Yusei Kikuchi reacts after giving up a home run to Houston Astros' Yuli Gurriel during the third inning of a baseball game Friday, Aug. 20, 2021, in Houston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

SEATTLE (AP) — Left-handed pitcher Yusei Kikuchi is leaving the Seattle Mariners after the team declined a club option on the All-Star and Kikuchi opted for free agency. 

Kikuchi could have exercised a one-year player option, but instead is choosing a fresh start elsewhere after struggling over the second half of last season. 

Kikuchi's decision to decline the player option saves Seattle $13 million to the Mariners' 2022 payroll.

Seattle also announced that it would not be picking up the option on third baseman Kyle Seager, a move that was long expected.  

His club option was worth $20 million.  Instead, Seattle gave Seager a $2 million buyout.