Former Chiba Lotte Marines third baseman Toshiaki Imae has joined the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles, the Pacific League club announced Friday.
The 32-year-old Imae spent all of his 14 years as professional with Lotte after joining the PL team as the third draft pick in 2001, posting a batting average of .284 with 93 home runs and 637 RBIs in 1,411 games.
He helped the Marines win the Japan Series in 2005 and 2010, and was named the MVP on both occasions.
“I’ll be doing my utmost to create a new chapter in history with the Eagles,” said Imae on the club’s website.
Imae had .287 average, one home run and 38 RBIs in 98 games in 2015, when he fractured his left wrist, which sidelined him for nearly two months. He declared himself a free agent after the season.
Meanwhile, the Eagles have re-signed right-handers Kam Mickolio and Kenny Ray as well as fielder Zelous Wheeler for the new season.
Mickolio, who agreed to a deal worth ¥150 million (about $1.23 million), joined from the Hiroshima Carp after three successive seasons with 20-plus saves but hip injury curtailed him from pitching once this year.
Forty-year-old Ray, signing on for the 10th of Mickolio’s deal, was 5-7 this season with a 3.79 ERA in 22 games, while Wheeler inked a ¥40 million deal after posting a .255 batting average and 14 home runs in his first year at Rakuten.
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