MLB free agency: Red Sox sign outfielder Masataka Yoshida from NPB

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The Boston Red Sox have agreed to sign outfielder Masataka Yoshida, CBS Sports’ Jim Bowden has confirmed. Yoshida also has a contract with the Orix Buffaloes of the Japanese professional baseball team, so he must go through the transfer system. He was officially released on Tuesday, and things are apparently moving quickly, as Bowden reports the deal is worth $90 million over five years, with a $15 million release fee returning to Orix from the Red Sox.

Yoshida, 29, was the NPB batting champion last season, hitting .336 during that stretch. In 121 games last season, he had a .449 on-base percentage and a .559 slugging percentage while notching 140 hits, including 28 doubles, a triple and 21 homers. He shot 89 home with 57 points and four stolen bases. His calling card is cricketing discipline as he has just 42 strikeouts in 417 at-bats while also allowing 82 walks in 515 plate appearances.

Here’s Baseball America’s quick scouting report for 2021:

Yoshida has great approach and decent power. He has plenty of room to fill the plate, but his selective approach and ability to hit the plate helps him a lot. As a base stealer, he doesn’t do much but moves well.

Yoshida is a left fielder, so the Red Sox will move him or Alex Verdugo to right field, flanking center fielder Kiké Hernández, as is currently the case. Obviously, there’s still plenty of offseason to go, and there could be more action from the Red Sox.

All we know right now is that they’ve acquired a high-average, high-touch, high-OBP outfielder who can be a top-teamer in 2023.

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