The Boston Red Sox have agreed to sign outfielder Masataka Yoshida, CBS Sports’ Jim Bowden confirms. Yoshida was still under contract with the Orix Buffaloes in Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball, so he had to go through the posting system. He was officially posted on Tuesday and things obviously moved quickly, as Bowden reports the deal is for five years and $90 million with a $15 million posting fee going back to Orix from the Red Sox.
Yoshida, 29, was the NPB batting champion last season, during which he hit .336. In 121 games last season, he had a .449 on-base percentage with a .559 slugging percentage while collecting 140 hits, including 28 doubles, a triple and 21 home runs. He drove home 89 while scoring 57 runs and stealing four bases. His calling card is plate discipline, as he struck out only 42 times in 417 at-bats, while also walking 82 times in 515 plate appearances.
Here’s a quick scouting report from Baseball America in 2021:
Yoshida has a good approach and decent power. He has room to fill out at the plate but his selective approach and ability to get on base is serving him well. He doesn’t play a big role as a basestealer, but moves well.
Yoshida is a left fielder by trade, so the Red Sox will be moving him or Alex Verdugo to right field, flanking center fielder Kiké Hernández, as things currently stand. Obviously, there’s plenty of offseason left and the Red Sox could have several more moves in the works.
What we do know right now is they’ve landed a high-average, high-contact, high-OBP outfielder capable of hitting toward the top of the lineup in 2023.