The Boston Red Sox found their addition to the outfield in free agency overseas, as they quickly signed Japan’s Masataka Yoshida just a day after he was moved by the Orix Buffaloes.
Yoshida’s deal is worth $90 million over five years, and since Orix’s posting fee is $15.4 million, Boston’s payout is about $105.4 million in total for the 29-year-old outfielder, per ESPN.
Yoshida’s clear attribute during his time in Nippon Professional Baseball was putting himself on the ground. He has led the league in OPS the past two seasons, posting a 1.008 mark in 2022 in 119 regular season games. Yoshida hit .335/.447/.561 with 21 home runs, 88 RBIs and 138 hits.
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He also has an incredible eye on the flat, with just 42 strikeouts for 82 walks.
Yoshida posted a .327/.421/.539 slant line with 133 home runs and 467 RBIs in seven NPB seasons.
Yoshida is 5-foot-8 and 176 pounds, but surprises many with the pop in his bat. He also had 28 doubles and one triple.
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Boston needed help on the field after refusing to go with Tommy Pham’s option for the 2023 season. Alex Verdugo and Enrique Hernandez are there, but the Red Sox had to meddle with Jarren Duran, Rob Refsnyder and d’ others last season.
The Red Sox also needed a consistent first hitter, which Yoshida could be for them given his record in Japan.
Will his overseas skills translate to MLB? We’ve seen Ichiro, Hideki Matsui, and now Shohei Ohtani play well when they enter the league, but others have been flashes in the pan or bounced around the league.
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Boston’s multi-year deal shows they’re confident Yoshida will have an immediate impact in their quest to return to postseason play after missing out in 2022 and beyond.
Yoshida is the second signing reported for Boston on Wednesday, as veteran close Kenley Jansen also picked the Red Sox as the next team.
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The bullpen has been a focal point for the organization as they signed left-handed reliever Joely Rodriguez and former Los Angeles Dodger Chris Martin.