Report: Red Sox agree to 5-year, $90M deal with Japanese star Yoshida
The Red Sox will also pay a $15.4-million posting fee to Yoshida's Nippon Professional Baseball club, the Orix Buffaloes, bringing the contract's total value to $105.4 million. His deal does not contain any opt-outs or option years, according to the Boston Globe's Alex Speier.
The contract is the second-biggest free-agent deal for a Japanese player, topped only by Masahiro Tanaka's $155-million deal with the New York Yankees in 2014, according to ESPN Stats & Info.
Yoshida agreed to join the Red Sox less than 24 hours after the Buffaloes officially posted him on Wednesday. He had a 45-day window to negotiate with all 30 teams after being posted.
Yoshida, 29, brings a stellar NPB resume to the majors. The sweet-swinging lefty is a lifetime .327/.421/.539 hitter with 133 homers and 467 RBIs over seven seasons with Orix, and he won two batting titles and four Pacific League Best Nine awards in the outfield. An on-base machine, he's never posted an OBP below .403 while only once striking out more than 70 times.
"I think first and foremost when you look at a player like him, the quality of the at-bat stands out and that can come from either side of the plate," Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom said, according to MLB.com's Ian Browne.
In 2022, Yoshida posted a career-best and PL-leading 1.008 OPS with 21 homers, 88 RBIs, 80 strikeouts, and 41 walks in 508 plate appearances. He also led his league in OBP (.447) while finishing second in both average and slugging and third in hits.
Yoshida then propelled the Buffaloes to their first Japan Series (Japan's World Series equivalent) title since 1996 with an amazing playoff run that included a walk-off homer in Game 5 of the series against the Yakult Swallows.
Yoshida will likely slot in at left field for Boston, his primary position in Japan. His presence could allow the team to shift Alex Verdugo to right field while keeping Enrique Hernandez in center.
The Red Sox have been busy on the final day of baseball's winter meetings. In addition to adding Yoshida, they reportedly agreed to a two-year, $32-million deal with former All-Star closer Kenley Jansen.