Tetsuto Yamada, two years removed from being Japan’s brightest young star, received an estimated ¥70 million pay cut from the Tokyo Yakult Swallows on Tuesday.
The 25-year-old Yamada, the CL’s 2015 MVP, batted .300 with 30-plus stolen bases and 30-plus home runs for the second straight season in 2016. He managed that despite his production coming off the rails after he was hit in the back with a pitch on July 30, 2016.
The second baseman played in all 143 games this year for the last place Swallows, batting a career-low .247 with 24 home runs, 14 steals, 79 runs and 78 RBIs, his lowest figures since he became a regular in 2014.
“It was a lousy year,” he said after signing a contract worth an estimated ¥280 million ($2.5 million) for 2018.
According to team officials, Yamada will receive incentive bonuses that could make up the difference in guaranteed salary.
“I want to contribute to the extent that everyone will notice,” Yamada said. “I want next year to get here quickly.”
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