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.
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.