NEW YORK – Seibu Lions outfielder Shogo Akiyama has agreed to a three-year contract with the Cincinnati Reds, according to a report released Monday on MLB.com.
Initial reporting on the deal, which has not yet been announced by the National League club, indicates that its total value will exceed $20 million.
The 31-year-old Akiyama, a five-time NPB All Star, qualified for international free agency this year after completing his ninth season with the Pacific League team.
The left-handed hitter batted .303 this year with 20 home runs, helping Seibu win its second straight pennant.
Akiyama turned pro out of university in 2011 as the Lions’ third-round pick in the 2010 amateur draft. In 2015, his 216 hits broke NPB’s single-season hit record. He led the PL with a .322 batting average in 2017.
Cincinnati is the only one of MLB’s 30 teams that has never had an active Japanese player. With 75 wins and 87 losses, the Reds finished fourth in the five-team NL Central Division last season.
Akiyama would become the third Japanese player to join an MLB club during this offseason. Yokohama BayStars slugger Yoshitomo Tsutsugo inked a two-year deal with the Tampa Bay Rays, while Yomiuri Giants pitcher Shun Yamaguchi signed with the Toronto Blue Jays.
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