MLB rumors: Yusei Kikuchi visiting Mariners; Reds have spoken to Derek Holland

Hot stove news has slowed to a crawl during the holidays, though things should begin to pick back up later this week. At the moment, 26 of our top 50 free agents remain unsigned. There are a lot of players who need to find work between now and the start of spring training in six weeks.

We're going to keep track of the day's hot stove rumors and rumblings right here in this handy post, so make sure you check back often for updates. Here's the latest from the baseball world on the final day of 2018.

Kikuchi visiting Mariners

Free agent lefty Yusei Kikuchi is visiting Seattle to meet with the Mariners, reports MLB.com's Greg Johns. The Seibu Lions in Japan posted Kikuchi for the 30 MLB teams this offseason and he has until 5 pm ET on Wednesday to sign. If he doesn't agree to a deal with an MLB team by then, Kikuchi will go back to Japan for 2019. He's been meeting with teams in Los Angeles the last few weeks and it's unclear whether he has visited or will visit any other MLB teams.

Here is everything you need to know about Kikuchi. The 27-year-old southpaw threw 163 2/3 innings with a 3.08 ERA and 153 strikeouts for Seibu in 2018. The Mariners have torn their roster down this offseason, but they have a rich history with Japanese players (Ichiro Suzuki, Hisashi Iwakuma, Kenji Johjima, etc.), and Kikuchi is young enough that he could be a core piece of the next contending Mariners team. Seattle would be signing him with an eye on the future rather than the present.

Reds have spoken to Holland

Free agent southpaw Derek Holland told MLB.com's Jon Morosi he has heard from the Reds this offseason. Holland grew up in Ohio and said he prefers to pitch for an NL team because he enjoys hitting and all the other things pitchers get to do in the non-DH league. The Reds have already added Alex Wood and Tanner Roark to their rotation this offseason and they remain connected to high-end starters such as Corey Kluber and Dallas Keuchel.

Holland, 32, resuscitated this career with the Giants last season, throwing 171 1/3 innings with a 3.57 ERA and 169 strikeouts. He has plenty of experience starting and relieving and could appeal to teams as a swingman/sixth starter type. In addition to Wood and Roark, the Reds currently have Luis Castillo, Anthony DeSclafani and Tyler Mahle penciled into their 2019 rotation. Holland would give them another layer of depth as they look to return to the postseason for the first time since 2013.

CBS Sports Writer

Mike Axisa joined CBS Sports in 2013. He has been a member of the BBWAA since 2015 and has previously written about both fantasy baseball and real life baseball for MLBTradeRumors.com, FanGraphs.com, RotoAuthority.com,... Full Bio

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