Japanese outfielder Masataka Yoshida is moving to MLB after a fantastic career in Nippon Professional Baseball. Yoshida agreed to a five-year, $90 million deal with the Boston Red Sox on Wednesday, according to Jeff Passan of ESPN.
This deal is in addition to the $15.4 million publishing fee the Sox will pay to sign Yoshida from Japan.
Yoshida, 29, spent seven seasons with the Oryx Buffaloes. He hit .335/.447/.561 last season while hitting 21 home runs in 508 plate appearances. He also showed amazing plate discipline, passing 80 times and striking 41 times in 119 games.
It was the best season of his career for Yoshida, although his performance did not differ much from the rest of his Orix career. In seven seasons with the team, he slashed .327/.421/.539.
Yoshida was expected to generate significant interest from MLB teams after he was posted by Orix on December 7. The outfield market is not very stable after Aaron Judge, who signed a nine-year, $360 million contract with the New York Yankees earlier Wednesday. and Brandon Nimmo, making Yoshida an attractive target for teams that missed out on those two players or were leery of betting on Michael Conforto after he missed all of 2021 with an injury.
Freedom of Action Yoshida was always going to act quickly. After it was released, MLB teams had 45 days to sign it. The Red Sox quickly made a deal.
Given his age and size, Yoshida should have an immediate impact in MLB. His bat-to-ball skills are strong, and his lack of strikeouts could see him become a high-average corner outfielder. Yoshida is also capable of moderate hitting, having spent four seasons with at least 20 home runs in the NPB.
If Yoshida can deliver on his promise, he could be an above-average offensive player in MLB in 2023.