Masataka Yoshida Agrees to a Five-Year Deal with Red Sox
Longtime Orix Buffaloes star Masataka Yoshida brings his talents to the AL East club after helping the NPB team win its first Japan Series title since 1996.
Veteran outfielder Masataka Yoshida has accepted a five-year contract offer from the Boston Red Sox, according to published reports.
The deal is worth $90 million USD (¥12.34 billion JPY), according to MLB, which announced the deal on Wednesday, December 7. According to MLB.com, the Red Sox will also pay a $15.4 million USD (¥2.1 billion JPY) posting fee to the Buffaloes.
Upon his request, Orix, which selected Yoshida in the first round of the 2015 NPB Draft, posted him on December 7. This enabled him to negotiate for a deal with MLB's 30 teams.
Yoshida is represented by high-profile agent Scott Boras, whose client list includes MLB stars Bryce Harper, Xander Bogaerts, Gerrit Cole and Jose Altuve, among others.
The 29-year-old Yoshida played seven seasons for NPB's Orix Buffaloes, helping lead the franchise to a Japan Series title in October. It was Orix's first title since 1996.
In Game 5, Yoshida blasted a solo home run in the fifth inning and added a walk-off, two-run shot in the ninth against the Tokyo Yakult Swallows.
A four-time Pacific League All-Star, Yoshida won back-to-back batting titles in 2020 (.350) and 2021 (.339). In 2022, he hit .335 with 21 home runs and 88 RBIs. He is a career .327 hitter. What's more, he has an impressive .421 on-base percentage.
Yoshida is a terrific contact hitter. He has 300 strikeouts in 2,703 career at-bats.
In a recent video report, MLB Network's Jon Morosi, described Yoshida as "a really talented player who has shown the power ability as well." Morosi also called him a "great top-of-the-lineup-type batter."
Red Sox Looking to Improve
The Red Sox, coming off a 78-84 season, are looking to bolster their offense for 2023.
Yoshida would likely be penciled into the Boston lineup as a left fielder.
By investing in Yoshida for the next several years, Boston will shell out the most money ever paid to a Japanese position player in MLB.
Outfielder Seiya Suzuki, formerly of the Hiroshima Carp, signed an $85 million, five-year deal last offseason with the Chicago Cubs. Suzuki previously held that distinction.
Author: Ed Odeven
Follow Ed on JAPAN Forward's [Japan Sports Notebook] here on Sundays, in [Odds and Evens] here during the week, and Twitter ＠ed_odeven.