The Yakult Swallows of Japan's Central League have signed three prominent players to multi-year contracts, MLBTR's Tim Dierkes has learned. Outfielder Wladimir Balentien obtains a three-year, $7.5MM contract for the 2014-16 seasons. Outfielder Lastings Milledge obtains a three-year, $4.4MM contract on a deal that includes a mutual option for 2016. Lastly, closer Tony Barnette obtains a two-year, $3.2MM contract.
Balentien, 28, will earn $950K in 2013 because an option in his previous contract vested. The Octagon client hit 31 home runs and posted a .272/.386/.572 batting line in 422 plate appearances this past season. Balentien, a three-year veteran of the big leagues, last appeared at the MLB level in 2009.
Milledge, a former first round pick and top prospect on this side of the Pacific, produced at the plate in Japan this past season. The 27-year-old posted a .300/.379/.485 batting line and added 21 home runs in 546 plate appearances.
Barnette saved 33 games for the Yakult Swallows in 2012. The 29-year-old right-hander posted a 1.82 ERA with 8.6 K/9 and 1.8 BB/9 in 54 1/3 innings.