It feels like it’s been forever since the news broke that the Cincinnati Reds had come to an agreement with outfielder Shogo Akiyama. Well it is now official as the team announced a 3-year deal worth $21M. Bobby Nightengale of The Cincinnati Enquirer reports that the deal breaks down as $6M for 2020, $7M for 2021, and $8M for 2022.

The time from when we found out about the agreement until today was longer than usual, but the timing was rather important. The news broke late on December 30th in Cincinnati, and December 31st in Japan (stupid time zones!). There was no need for everyone to rush things and not spend the New Year with their family. Spring training doesn’t start for five more weeks (Pitchers and Catchers report on February 13th).

After arriving in Cincinnati, Shogo Akiyama had a physical, and he passed – before signing his 3-year contract with the Reds. While there wasn’t much reason to be concerned that he wouldn’t pass, the outfielder was recovering from a broken toe after being hit by a pitch.

We’ve written a lot about Shogo Akiyama in the last week. First we took a look at how the projections from Clay Daventport and Rotowire projected his offense, both for 2020 and for 2020-2022. Then we got to take a look at how Dan Szymborki’s ZiPS projections felt the Reds new outfielder would perform over the life of his contract.

Between the three systems the biggest difference seems to be in the projection of how much power he will maintain. ZiPS doesn’t see Akiyama keeping as much power as the Clay Davenport projection does – while the Rotowire projection was only for the one season, it was the highest overall on the Reds first Japanese player.

The move will require a corresponding roster move, but it has not yet been announced.

31 Responses

  1. MK

    I do not know why Mike Lum is not considered the Reds first Japanese player. He was born in Hawaii of Japanese born parents, Under Japanese Law if his father and mother are Japanese then so are their children. At the very least Lum has or had duel citizenship.

    • Colorado Red

      Born in the USA, makes you a US citizen.
      He was not born in Japan.
      Just saying.

  2. Hotto4Votto

    Good to know the details of the deal. All three Reds signings have deals that increase as the years do. That leaves room to add this year. Room opens up next year as Bauer and Disco are set to become FA’s. Smart to do it this way. Hopefully setting a team up for a multi-year run.

  3. GhostRunner

    That would be fun, signing a contract for 21 million. I wonder how much he was being paid in Japan.

  4. Curt

    Well, that shot up from the predicted 2/10 quite a bit, eh? and 3 years! Not my money though. Hope he can cut it in the MLB cuz he’s taking somebody’s job, that’s for sure. Pricey if he ends up on the bench.
    Would be nice to see Dick and Nick take these kinds of gambles on their own prospects a bit more often but hey, hope it works out.

    • Roger Garrett

      Reds haven’t shown much of a plan or patience with some of their prospects and that’s why they still have most of them minus what they traded for Sonny Gray and Alex Wood.Reds have a ton of outfielders now and some others that are out of options so the rubber is getting ready to meet the road.Maybe we can package guys like Bob Steve,Reed,Ervin and I am sure I missed one or two to get a catcher or a short stop.Lots of teams would give the first two guys a shot to start and wouldn’t even blink twice.Both have the stuff to be at least average major league starters.

  5. DanD

    I expect the corresponding move to be Josh D Smith. Just looking at the 2019 stats he should be able to slip thru waivers.

    • Grand Salami

      The video is painfully awkward. Dick trying to see what is taking so long for his signature and trying to time his handshake out right. And Shogo isn’t sure what to do either. Haha.

      • jim walker

        I agree. I was wondering if the document was in English, Japanese or perhaps both side by side because both men seemed confused yet there was no translator/ agent stepping in to explain anything. Whatever exactly was going on DW looked genuinely relieved when Akiyama finally signed.

  6. Seat101

    Michael Graham was born in Hawaii before it was a state.

    • Grand Salami

      Yes but it was a territory just like PR is.

    • jim walker

      Wikipedia (has to be correct, right?) says Mike Lum was the first MLB player of “Japanese ancestry”. I for one am happy to leave the dual citizenship issue to the immigration lawyers in both countries.

    • Michael Smith

      US Territory still leads to citizenship in most cases.

      • jim walker

        Agree, at least for people born after 1941 when the language of the 14th amendment was clearly codified to include US territories. Lum was born in 1945.

  7. Rex

    Japanese people don’t normally sign things they just add their “seal”

    which is a round rubber stamp with their name in kanji

    maybe is was a new thing for him

  8. Steve Schoenbaechler

    Overall, I like the move.

    I can’t see the Reds having this many OFer’s going into ST. There should be something else going on. Senzel? Winker? JVM? AA?

  9. Tom

    Does this bring the current team salary to about $111m?

    If so, that’s quite a lot of cash available.

    Hopefully we can land 2-3 quality relievers.

    I’m still not sold on adding Ozuna and I’m definitely not sold on sending Senzel and a boatload if prospects for 2 years of Lindor. But, I could see a trade for one of the Rays young shortstops – like 5 years of Willy Adames.

  10. Charles Lackey

    Have the Reds stopped signing or trading for still another BIG BAT AND A TOP RELIEF OR STARTING PITCHER? Reds have boasted all along they have the money to obtain these players. For once it would be great if Reds followed thru with their talk. The team still needs another big bat & a top pitcher. Judging by the past the Reds will not obtain those 2 players. So after all the talk Ted’s have maybe gained 4 to 5 wins. For once Reds Front Office go out and get the 2 players they need without giving away the ranch. Unfortunately the Reds fans know how this Front Office operates– TALK-TALK SOME ACTION BUT ALWAYS FALL SHORT.

    • sixpack2

      One, it is not spring training yet. Two, I like all the moves so far, so I think the front office is doing great. Three, more would be great but we are very competitive now!

    • Byron Robinson

      Charles,

      Maybe I’ve missed it, but I’ve never seen where the Reds have said they are going to get a BIG BAT and a TOP PITCHER.

      What I’ve seen from the front office is generalities like “we have money to spend” , “we plan to increase the payroll”, and “we are looking to improve the team”

      Baseball writers then speculate on what that might mean and you get the rumors that everyone gets either excited or dismayed about.

      It’s still more than a month until the start of spring training, and I expect there will be more moves….but if not, I at least, won’t feel that the FO was all talk and no action.

  11. TR

    With the indefinite situation regarding Senzel (stay, trade and injury recovery), I like the acquisition of Akiyama. The Reds should compete in the NLC with a good start to the season, and if they’re not too far behind come Memorial Day.

    • Matt WI

      Right? For the love of all things, how about an over .500 April?

      • TR

        Why not? .500 has been a difficult figure for the Reds to reach for the past 4 or 5 years.

  12. Ed

    Can we bet on who loses their spot to make space on the 40 man for Akiyama?
    My guess is Schebler but that dude is immune to being cut loose apparently

    • Redsvol

      Ed – I’m going with Jankowski. Not much need for a no offense center fielder now that Shogo is in the house. We have too many outfielders and I think the others have slightly more desirable skill level (power, on base percentage, track record of health) than the Jankowski kid. I’d rather see Martini, Payton, Schebler and Siri in center field during spring training than Jankowski.

      With the pitchers, its always hard to let them go for fear of losing out on a breakout.

      • Ed

        It was Nick Martini! I was thinking it would be Schebler, since Jankowski is basically around as a backup in CF. Honestly forgot about Martini. Hope he clears waivers and we can sign him cheap, seems like he does well in AAA

      • Ed

        Crazy to have amassed such a surplus of kinda middling CF talent

  13. Still a Red

    Schebler was always a hot-and-cold hitter, but last season he seemed exceptionally off the mark. He was dumped so early in the season, I don’t think anyone thought about whether he was a victim of Ward’s coaching. He got injured I believe in the minors and never had much of a season. Wonder if anyone would want him?