It’s been almost official for over a week now, but with the holiday season and a few thousand miles of ocean between the US and Japan, we’ve been forced to wait patiently for the Cincinnati Reds to make their signing of outfielder Shogo Akiyama official.
Well, it’s now officially official, as Shogo flew to Cincinnati yesterday to take his physical, and the Reds announced the signing earlier Monday.
OFFICIAL: The Reds have signed free agent OF Shogo Akiyama to a 3-year, $21-million contract through the 2022 season! pic.twitter.com/wAVfhGsVfY— Cincinnati Reds (@Reds) January 6, 2020
The numbers are now public, too, as he’ll make $21 million over the 3 years on his deal, one that will take him through his age 34 season. Shogo’s currently 31, and will turn 32 shortly after Opening Day 2020. As MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon added, his contract calls for a salary of $6 million this year, $7 million in 2021, and $8 million in 2022.
Primarily a CF, Shogo has spent time in the corner OF spots, too, and as things currently stand he’ll likely rotate through a Reds OF situation that also features the likes of Jesse Winker, Nick Senzel, Aristides Aquino, and Phil Ervin. That kind of depth has prompted rumors that the Reds might use some of it to explore trades for help at other positions on the diamond, but it’s worth keeping in mind just how many OFs the Reds cycled through just last year, too. On top of that, both Winker and Senzel saw injuries end their campaigns for the second consecutive season, so the idea of having significant OF depth certainly isn’t a bad one.
A career .301/.376/.454 hitter in over 1200 games in Japan, Shogo officially becomes the first Japanese player in Cincinnati Reds franchise history today, too, which is awesome on a number of levels. Ideally, that production from the left side of the plate will slot in most every day atop the Reds revamped lineup, one that’s also seen the Reds splash cash on free agent Mike Moustakas to help improve what was a lackluster offense in 2019.
Welcome to the Reds, Shogo!