In 366 PA with the Cincinnati Reds since the start of the abbreviated 2020 season, Shogo Akiyama has hit a triple and nary a homer. The complete lack of pop in his bat has led to a meager .274 slugging percentage in that time, his solid walk rate not enough to counterbalance that level of slaphittery.
All told, it’s been a 56 OPS+ tenure for Shogo with the Reds, a tenure that might have officially come to an end today. As Charlie Goldsmith of The Enquirer relayed, Shogo has been informed he will not make the roster for Opening Day.
Reds GM Nick Krall announces that OF Shogo Akiyama has not made the team. Akiyama has the ability to become a free agent.— Charlie Goldsmith (@CharlieG__) April 3, 2022
In two years with the Reds, Akiyama hit .224 in 317 at bats.
As Goldsmith notes, the contract signed by Shogo with the Reds prior to 2020 has a clause that allows him to refuse assignment to the minors, though we don’t yet know if that’s what Shogo is going to exercise. He’s set to turn 34 years old in just under two weeks, making the idea of heading to AAA to bide time and work his way back to the bigs with the Reds seem a bit farfetched at this juncture, especially since he’d likely have plenty of options to return back to the professional ranks in Japan.
Of course, there’s always the chance he could declare free agency and have another MLB club sign him to a big league deal, but ‘farfetched’ is the word that again comes to my mind in that scenario, too.
Fellow Enquirer scribe Bobby Nightengale had more on the procedural aspect of what’s likely to happen, noting that Shogo will be DFA’d by Opening Day if he refuses his assignment, something that will open up a 40-man roster for the Reds.
Akiyama cannot be sent to the minor leagues without his consent. He will be DFA'd by Opening Day if he declines his minor-league assignment. He declined to be sent to the minors last season.— Bobby Nightengale (@nightengalejr) April 3, 2022
All the best to Shogo, really. There was much to be excited about when the Reds signed him for $21 million on a 3-year pact, but it just simply hasn’t worked out at all. His departure from the roster will leave an outfield mix of Tyler Naquin, Nick Senzel, Tommy Pham, and Jake Fraley, with Aristides Aquino - who is out of options - likely the last man in that rotation, too.