10:30 AM: Hector Gomez of Z101 Digital adds that Aquino’s deal is one-year, $1.2MM with an additional $300K of possible incentives.
10:20 AM: Outfielder Aristides Aquino has signed with the Chunichi Dragons of Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball, reports Jon Morosi of MLB Network. It’s Aquino’s first stint overseas, who had previously spent parts of the last five seasons with the Cincinnati Reds.
Aquino, 28, made his debut during the 2018 season, earning a single at-bat, before reaching free agency and re-signing on a minor league deal with the Reds. He would eventually join the team in a more permanent role during the 2019 season, slashing .259/.316/.576 with 19 homers in 205 at-bats while posting serviceable strikeouts (26.7%) and walk (7.1%) rates. During that stretch, the right-handed hitter hit 13 homers in his first 100 plate appearances, setting an MLB record.
His success soon faded, and Aquino would spend the 2020 season bouncing between the major league club and the Reds’ alternative training site. More recently, Aquino hit a weak .194/.269/.381 with 20 homers across the 2021 and 2022 seasons (433 at-bats) with a poor 36.7% strikeout rate and a strong 9.2% walk rate. He was designated for assignment two weeks ago, as the Reds adjusted their 40-man roster ahead of the Rule 5 Draft.
It’s possible that Aquino has a strong enough performance in Japan to draw some new major league interest in the future, for it was only a few seasons ago that he showcased his immense power. Nevertheless, he will now turn to the Dragons as an outfield option with a career .300/.374/.644 line at the Triple-A level.