HIROSHIMA – The Hiroshima Carp made waves on Saturday, announcing they had signed star southpaw Kris Johnson to a three-year contract extension.
Last year, in his first Japan season, the 31-year-old lefty led the Central League with a 1.85 ERA, while going 14-7. He is 6-4 this season with a 1.99 ERA. According to the team, the contract is worth $3 million (roughly ¥320 million) for the first year, with performance-based incentives and a $1 million signing bonus.
According to the Carp, Johnson had been eyeing a potential move to the majors next season but his decision was influenced by his and his family’s fondness for Hiroshima.
The Carp have become notorious in Nippon Professional Baseball’s free agent era for allowing many of their best players to leave rather than pay market value. But in December, the team inked former big leaguer Hiroki Kuroda to a deal reportedly worth ¥600 million.