The Reds announced today that they have signed a three-year deal with Japanese outfielder Shogo Akiyama. It’s a $21MM pact, the club added. Akiyama will earn successive salaries of $6MM, $7MM, and $8MM, according to Mark Sheldon of MLB.com (via Twitter).
This deal reportedly came together just before the calendar flipped, but details had remained murky. It turns out Akiyama is indeed headed to Cincinnati, becoming the organization’s first player from Japan. (Every MLB team has now employed at least one player from the Asian baseball giant.)
The 31-year-old Akiyama is a well-rounded performer who primarily played up the middle in Japan. He broke out in 2015 and has sustained it since, producing a cumulative .320/.398/.497 batting line with 94 home runs in that five-year span. Akiyama played in every single one of the Seibu Lions’ 143 games in each of those campaigns.
With this contract now in the books, the Reds have added two key pieces to an already talented slate of position players. Akiyama and Mike Moustakas both figure to see steady action in 2020 and beyond. It remains to be seen what that means for the rest of the roster — and the rest of the offseason. As we explored recently, the Reds now seem to have quite a few options for finishing things off over the next five weeks.