Fukuoka Softbank Hawks outfielder Yuki Yanagita agreed to a ¥620 million ($5.46 million) annual salary for the 2022 season on Friday, which will make him the highest-paid position player in NPB history.
Yanagita, who banked ¥610 million last season to equal the record held by outfielder Hideki Matsui, will be in the third year of a seven-year contract with the Pacific League club that also includes performance incentives.
The 33-year-old hit .300 with 28 homers and 80 RBIs in 141 games in 2021 and was also a member of Japan's gold-winning Olympic baseball team. But the Hawks failed to win back-to-back Pacific League pennants and a fifth straight Japan Series title, finishing fourth in the league.
Current Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles pitcher Masahiro Tanaka's estimated annual salary of ¥900 million makes him the highest-paid NPB player ever at any position.
Yanagita has been elevated to the position of Hawks' team captain for the 2022 season, with the Fukuoka-based squad looking to make a fresh start under new manager Hiroshi Fujimoto.
"I want to post convincing numbers that will impress everyone. I'm going to aim for a (Japan Series) win only, and I want to toss our manager in the air," Yanagita said.