First baseman Jose Osuna has signed a three-year contract extension to remain with the Tokyo Yakult Swallows of Nippon Professional Baseball, according to Yahoo Japan. Osuna will receive $5.1MM, as per MLB Network’s Jon Heyman (via Twitter), with salaries of $1.4MM in 2022, $1.7MM in 2023, and $2MM in 2024. Another $900K is available in incentives.
Osuna, who turns 29 later this month, hit .258/.293/.401 with 13 home runs over 495 plate appearances for the Swallows in 2021, serving as the team’s primary first baseman and also getting a bit of playing time at third base. Osuna also picked up some key hits for the Swallows during their postseason run, as the Tokyo squad captured the Japan Series championship.
While his numbers were modest, the Swallows clearly felt good enough about Osuna’s performance to make this long-term commitment. The $5.1MM also represents much more security that Osuna would’ve found in a contract with a big league team this winter, as he would likely have had to settle for a minor league deal (and could’ve now been in limbo due to the lockout).
A longtime member of the Pirates organization, Osuna hit .241/.280/.430 with 24 home runs over 705 career plate appearances in the majors, all with Pittsburgh from 2017-20. Osuna received a solid chunk of playing time in part-time and platoon roles with the Bucs, though the club opted to designate him for assignment last offseason rather than pay him a projected $1.1MM arbitration salary.
From that same Yahoo Japan report, the Swallows are also in talks with outfielder Domingo Santana about another contract. In his first Japanese season, Santana was one of the Swallows’ top bats, hitting .290/.366/.511 with 19 home runs over 418 PA.
The author of a 30-homer season with the Brewers in 2017, Santana hit .255/.341/.446 with 77 home runs over parts of seven big league seasons from 2014-20 with Houston, Milwaukee, Seattle, and Cleveland. Santana’s subpar defense, however, made him a veritable bat-only player, so the Guardians declined their 2021 club option on his services following a mediocre 2020 campaign.