Ring the alarms, another big deal has hit the baseball world before the physical and metaphorical ball has dropped. The Reds have come to terms with Shogo Akiyama on a 3-year, $20M deal, reports Japan’s Nikkan Sports. Domestically speaking, Jon Heyman also tweeted it, I suppose. Nikkan Sports initially had the contract amount set at $15M, which Heyman officially confirmed to $20M.
The center fielder slashed a healthy 303/.392/.471 with 20 homers and 12 stolen bases for the Seibu Lions last season, a team that plays in Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball league. The 31-year old is nothing if not consistent, hitting an average line of .301/.376/.454 over his nine seasons playing baseball. He’s been an All-Star and two-time Gold Glove winner in the NPB, adding some serious defensive agility to the Reds’ outfield.
Aykiama will join fellow offseason acquisition Mike Moustakas in a full charge effort to make the Reds relevant again. This offseason they’ve appeared to spare no expense, so keep your eyes out for another move from Cincinnati in the upcoming days, especially for a utility infield spot. If you were pulling for a big name like Nick Castellanos or Marcell Ozuna, who were previously linked to the Reds, I’m sorry to say the line for that ends here.
Shogo Aykiama will be the first ever Japanese-born player in Reds history.