Potential Japanese import Shogo Akiyama, 31, remains a popular target on the free agent market. Yesterday’s reports affirmed the Reds and Padres atop the list of pursuers. The long-time Seibu Lions centerfielder is said to have 3-year offers on the table, per MLB Network Insider Jon Heyman (via Twitter). The Cubs and Diamondbacks have also consistently been linked to the left-handed hitter, while the Rays and Blue Jays have had reported interest at various times during the offseason.
The 45th-ranked free agent on our Top 50 Free Agents list, Akiyama is one of the only true centerfield options on the open market, and he carries enough bat to find a place near the top of a batting order. His on-base ability in particular is drawing teams to his door, per Heyman. He carries a career .301/.376/.454 line from 9 seasons in the NPB, with OBPs floating right around .400 over the past five seasons.
MLBTR’s Dylan A. Chase asked readers early in the offseason to predict which NPB import would collect the largest guarantee. Akiyama landed firmly between Yoshitomo Tsutsugo and Shun Yamaguchi. We now know Tsutsugo claimed $12MM from the Rays while Yamaguchi got $6.35MM from the Blue Jays. Both deals are for two seasons. So while it’s reasonable to expect Akiyama to come on a fairly reasonable contract, the dearth of centerfield options could drive the bidding beyond either deal’s total guarantee.
Elsewhere among outfielders, the Marlins remain interested in Yasiel Puig. The volatile Cuban outfielder would certainly entertain Floridians, even if the .267/.327/.458 line he put up for the Reds and Indians in 2019 isn’t necessarily awe-inspiring. He did technically produce at an above-average rate with a 101 wRC+.
The Marlins, however, seem to be leaning towards Corey Dickerson at the moment, per FNTSY Sports Radio’s Craig Mish (via Twitter). The Fish have outfield prospects knocking on the door (namely, Monte Harrison and Jesus Sanchez), as well as intriguing talent a little further away (JJ Bleday, Victor Victor Mesa, Kameron Misner) – but they continue to explore adding offensive talent for the near-term.
Miami or TB give Puig a chance!!!
All you are saying… is give Puig a chance?
Nice Lennon reference.
We all be playing those Mind Games forever.
Watching the wheels go round and round on these potential signings
Honesty, how do you sleep at night?
Those freaks was right when they said you was dead
Happy Christmas to the Marlins (War is over – rated)
I’d like to see him in Atlanta… watch some bat flip offs between him and Acuna. Take them both to another level.
Please Braves, don’t take Puig. I like the Braves too much and I don’t want a potential reason to not like them. 🙁
Keep him as far away from Atlanta as possible
Braves won’t touch Puig.
Bat flips are dumb….and disrespectful to the game.
All I can say is that the Cincinnati fan base loves him. We would gladly welcome him back.
Hi, Madison !
Are you being facetious? Orpossibly suffering from tribalistic cognitive disorder?
None of the Braves players or coaches would put up with his moronic, childish ways. He doesn’t fit the team profile at all. Plus, he’s just not that good.
PLUS, there are many baseball fans who are bitter, close-minded people who forget that minds(and perspectives) are like parachutes.
Puig would be a huge hit in Miami, but I actually think Dickerson is extremely underrated. The guy is a hitting machine.
I bet Mattingly would just love it.
Dickerson is more consistent. That is what frustrated Dodger fans for so long with Puig. He would show flashes of immense talent but not produce consistently. After his 2017 season it seemed like he had turned a corner on that, but then disappointed in 2018.
If Puig is amenable to a 1 year deal around $5-$7mil the Rays might be interested.
technically nothing. puig is squarely above average and very intriguing.
Yep! Puig is squarely above average and very intriguing. As an added bonus, he is legitimately certifiable and a cancer in the locker room.
Would like to see the Reds sign Akiyama, give him a 4th year guaranteed contingent on performance…
If it’s contingent on performance, is it actually guaranteed?
A guaranteed contract basically means that it comes with a roster spot
What does that line in Japan roughly translate to our league?
Hard to say… some hitters get only slightly worse the USA with increased strikeouts and less pop overall due to velocity and bigger fields. Others fall off a lot. Ichiro, Matsui, and Johjima didn’t change much. Aoki and others changed a lot.
Japanese Proffessional Baseball would be like 4A minors American. Better than our minor leagues, still not quits as good as our big league.
Thank you both.
4 years at that time he is 35yo.
What is the AAV?
Is 4yrs $32mil to much? 4yrs $36mil?
B. Lowe’s extension from the Rays is $24mil guaranteed.
Want the Padres to sign Puig and Alex Wood bad. Gives them a proven starter and needed offense. Players that know the NL West as well.
If Puig is the proven offense you’re craving, it’s already a lost season for SD.
That’s typical Padre fan ^
The problem with SD signing an OF (be it Puig or Ozuna) is always the same – can’t do it unless they find someone willing to take Myers off their hands, and the market for bad contracts is pretty barren at the moment.
NO Padres don’t need Puig nor his attitude, Alex Wood yes or Brock for 2B LH hitter which the Friars need some (good stats) and could be had for two yrs.
Dickerson is really underrated, Indians should be targeting him, or at least a contender should. He’s a solid 2-4 WAR guy who hits and even had a .900+ OPS last year! How is he not getting any love from a contender?
Maybe he’s been asking/expecting too much $$$?
The Indians are a perfect fit for him. I’m gonna keep saying it in comments sections until it happens.
Adding on to that, he mashes righties and isn’t nearly as good against lefties (although he’s not unplayable against them). Luplow mashes lefties. Perfect fit.
I can’t imagine what Dickerson’s market looks like, but I think 2 years for around $16-18 million is reasonable.
Nice call, you nailed it.
And he’s a hustler, a guy who gives everything he’s got each time out. You know, the kind of guy the Pirates give away for a few bobble head dolls
It’s a shame the Phillies have a plethora of outfield options because I really wanted them to keep Dickerson on. He was the best hitter on the entire roster for a stretch. I actually think the Phillies offense will be significantly worse without Dickerson even though the hope is for Cutch to be back and healthy.
Dickerson will definitely get some love once the OF market heats up.
Another Rockies product who supposedly couldn’t hit outside Coors Field but who has in fact done just fine, even better, after he left. Rockies hitters are an undervalued target.
Whoever gets Akiyama is getting a high OBP% guy who can hit for contact really well. Good lead off guy who can get on base, doesnt strike out often, and has sneaky speed, pretty solid defense as well.
I hear Akiyama has broken his foot and thus his value will be down. The report is it will take three to four months to hear fully.
Hard to believe that Miami would sign Puig when he and Mattingly were oil and water when both were on the Dodgers
probably why it’s not a done deal already.
Both are desperate. Not too many teams offering Puig a full-time spot and Mattingly is a lame duck manager
That was over four years ago. Maybe they and their relationship has changed since then.
Yeah that probably happened.
Well the relationship with Kemp was equally as bad if not worse with Donnie baseball. They still gave Kemp a chance.
stan lee the manly
There is no way that Dickerson signs with Miami. He’s too good to end up on a non-contender with so many needing outfield help, I can’t imagine him ending up in baseball purgatory with the other options he will have.
stan lee the manly
Well this didn’t age well! Very surprising, I can’t believe he couldn’t do better
And yet Dickerson did sign with Miami.
stan lee the manly
…as stated above, I’m well aware. Everyone can’t be right all the time, thanks for taking the time out of your day to point it out.
Well,if you make a post saying “there is no way” and then it happens….expect to be called out on it.
Maybe next time say “I’d really be surprised if”?
I mean…if you’re sensitive about people pointing out your error.
Dickerson signs with Miami good for Miami
Dbacks fan here. Ambivalent about signing Akiyama. Will be excited if Dbacks sign him, but won’t be disappointed if they don’t, because I trust Hazen’s judgement. If he gets outbid that’s a sign the bidding took Akiyama out of the value range. Still think a trade for a CF is the better option, because of the risk involved in how a foreign player will translate to the MLB.
Akiyama will add depth to OF & a lead off person, but Reds still need quality SS with a bat!!
I saw rumblings that they may look at Senzel at short if they make this signing. Not sure how I feel about that, but an interesting thought if he can be at least average defensively.
If memory serves, the Reds tried Senzel at SS very briefly in the minors and apparently it wasn’t a productive experience. I’d be surprised if they did move Senzel to short.
My money is on them signing Akiyama to play starting CF and send Senzel+others off to Cleveland for Lindor.
I believe he’ll sign with the Friars three yr deal $15M and has relatives in the area.
Victor Victor Pizza Pizza will be a star
He didn’t fair to well in his first year out of Cuba.
dynamite drop in monty
I’ve had enough of your macho head games.
I was one of the Puig haters before he came to Cincy… Dude is nothing like the media makes him out to be… He is an all out 100 percent effort guy that loves the game.. Best arm in baseball and hustled more than anyone in the game… Would love to have him back
Puig on a short contract with the Reds would seem to be a win/win.
And I agree, he hustled his butt off and was seemingly a good teammate in his albeit short time in Cincy.
I was at the game where he made that ridiculous catch against the outfield foul wall. Id love for him to come back to the Reds.
Proved himself an outstanding citizen!
Reds should trade their entire outfield (Winker, Senzel & Aquino) + Galvis for Lindor. Then sign Dickerson, Akiyama and Puig. 2-3 year deals and we have a 2 year window with Lindor and all you have to shuffle is starting pitching that has expiring contracts. Easily makes Cinci Central pick and playoffs. Line up would be Lindor (S ), Votto(L), Suarez (R), Moose (L), Puig (R), Dickerson (L), Akiyama (L), catcher, pitcher. Nasty, nasty
While you’re at it, why don’t you include Castillo and Gray in the trade for Lindor?
Senzel AND Winker (much less also Aquino and Galvis) is a huge overpay for Lindor. I wouldn’t trade 5 years of Senzel for 2 years of Lindor straight up.
And when the Reds lose in the crapshoot that is the playoffs, you’ve turned an extended window of contention into a two year heartbreak.
Couldn’t disagree more. Senzel is no Bregman and NEVER been healthy. Winker can’t stay healthy or hit lefty’s and 1 month got Aquino on the map, but he couldn’t hit got average in AA. MLB pitchers are going to punch him out at an epic rate
Well we won’t agree. Don’t know why you brought Bregman into the conversation, but while he’s here you’ll note that his production really soared in his third MLB season. Senzel has only had his rookie campaign. However, Bregman has nothing to do with this. The Indians are apparently very interested in acquiring Senzel, with good reason. He’s hit everywhere he’s ever played and he’s an above average athlete (hence being able to move from 3B, to 2B, and then finally to CF last season). As for “never” being healthy, he was plenty healthy in college and somehow managed 414 PA after being called up on May 3rd and being shut down on September 7th. Lots and lots of complete games.
Winker has had injuries but nothing chronic (such as a bad back, knee, etc.). In the meantime, Jesse Winker has hit .285/.379/.466/.845 in his young career. He’s 25 years old and has four years of control left and you want to trade him away? Yeah, no.
I’m not convinced that Aquino is this out of this world slugger that he flashed in August, but I’m not trading him before he’s given a chance. I had wanted the Reds to find a platoon for Aquino like Kole Calhoun, but Calhoun found an everyday gig. Would Puig split time with Aquino? Perhaps.
As for the Reds trading their ENTIRE outfield and trying to replace them with free agents, what makes you so convinced that the Reds could land all three of your targets? Oh, there goes Dickerson to the Marlins. Guess we might want to hold on to Winker and his .845 OPS … The Reds were never going to trade their entire OF away without having replacements in hand. Good luck replacing a Winker or a Senzel: they don’t grow on trees.
Not understanding where you’re finding this magical extended window of contention that Senzel somehow provides. Contention for what? 3rd place in the division? And how is Senzel suddenly the mythical hero who’s going to miraculously pull it off?
If you had a crystal ball and it told you that Senzel is going to hit .290 with 30 homers and 90 RBIs every year for the next 5 years, I’m completely on your side. Personally, I don’t see it happening. He’s never hit for power even when playing at his natural position in the minors. The most he has ever hit in a season is 14. And while he did have a career .312 BA in the minors, he hit for .256 last season with 12 HRs and 42 RBIs in 375 ABs. Add the fact that he is blocked at both 3B and 2B, so he’s going to be forced to continue playing at CF…if the Reds don’t add Akiyama, and it’s a no brainer for me.
I think it’s fairly clear that the Reds are moving on from Senzel. The fact that they are going after Akiyama so hard pretty much removes any doubt of that. They are clearly trying to free Senzel up as a trade piece.
Bottom line is you don’t get the chance to add a game changing player every day. If you are in win-now mode, as the Reds clearly are, and you can add a player like Lindor, you pull the trigger. If Cincy manages to land Akiyama, they need to be on the phone with Cleveland 3 minutes later.
That’s what I’ve been thinking the entire Akiyama saga thus far.
I’m not a fan of the trade you’ve proposed for Lindor, but it is better than trading their prospects for him. With your trade it may actually allow for a competitive window of 5-7yrs (if the prospects pan out) and really provide a big opportunity in the 2yrs with Lindor.
Akiyama will probably end up in S.D. closer to Japan, has relatives in So. CA. and the Friars will over spend to get him, three yrs. $15M
Nothing magical about the Reds window of contention. They’ve been lousy for 6 years now, and have 5 top draft choices to show for it. Only one has made MLB so far (Senzel) and too many are already ditching him for the fool’s gold of just 2 years of Lindor. If the Reds were able to immediately extend Lindor, I might consider it, but I don’t see that happening. The window is extended via players like Senzel, Winker, Suarez, Castillo, and Gray. The Reds have team control of that entire core for at least the next FOUR years not the TWO years that some would like to shrink the window down to. Add to that core Tyler Stephenson (C), Nick Lodolo (LHP), Jose Garcia (SS), and Jonathan India (IF), who will all be in the upper minors to start this year. And Hunter Greene will be back to pitching again this year.
Senzel was one of the most advanced hitters, if not the most advanced hitter, from his draft class. He’s hit at every level, and it’s common for players to grow into their power. Senzel was converted to CF last year from the IF, and had plenty to worry about in his rookie season. I’m expecting a big year from him, and expecting 20-25 HRs from him may prove to be conservative (he was on a 19 HR pace in his abbreviated rookie season). Likewise, I expect Winker to absolutely rake this year.
As for it being “clear” that the Reds are moving on from Senzel, I think you might need glasses. Just because the Indians want Senzel doesn’t mean that the Reds are giving him up. Shogo is far from a sure thing in CF, hence the puny $3MM estimate AAV of his contract projections. IF the Reds sign him, he’ll backup Senzel in CF and Aquino in RF.
The Cubs were disappointed to learn that Akiyama wants money rather than pocket lint, buttons and bottle caps.
Buttons can get expensive. The Cubs can’t afford that outlay.
If the Twins end up trading Rosario for pitching, Puig on a short 1-2 year contract to bridge our prospects (Larnach, Kiriloff) would be solid.
DearTheo , you’re responsible for the many really bad contracts the Cubs have to pay for ! Dig deep into your own pockets and pay for Akiyama , us fans deserve better. Your organization is going nowhere, PAY UP THEO , you thief !!
What’s Akiyama supposed to do for the cvbs?
That is some of the craziest ranting I’ve seen on here in quite some time
I just want Puig back in Cincy..
There’s a reason your GM is not working on getting Puig back to Cincy
That reason may be, why bid up Puig’s potential contract? They waited on Iglesias last year and got him on the cheap.
Why the hell haven’t the Cubs pursued him HARD???
He’s a perfect fit for the Cubs, he fills both needs of theirs, a true Center Fielder & a Lead Off Hitter
This is just getting ridiculous that the Cubs won’t take a chance on a low cost high upside talent like this guy!
Because winning is not the top priority of the Cubs
Cub fans still haven’t figured out they won’t spend until they make a trade. The trade is Bryant because he makes the most money.
Then you only get what they add in trade which the majority will likely not be MLB ready.
Bryant has lost his luster and with his payroll its not going to be an easy one unless Cubs eat some money
Puig is capable of 35 hr and 100 rbi. At a fair price.. he’s worth the risk on a 1 year deal. Don’t want to see him in Tampa.. maybe white Sox.. to dh and platoon in right
Puig has never had more than 24 hr and 84 RBI. How do you come up with 35/100. He is an average player
That reason may be, why bid up Puig’s potential contract? They waited on Iglesias last year and got him on the cheap.
The Reds need to go all in on ichigo ichie.