5-Time Japanese All-Star Agrees To 3-Year Contract

            CINCINNATI – Cincinnati Reds President of Baseball Operations Dick Williams today announced that free agent OF Shogo Akiyama (6-0, 190, L/R, pronounced Show Go ah-KEY-ah-ma) has agreed to terms on a 3-year, $21-million contract through the 2022 season. The contract includes salaries of $6 million in 2020, $7 million in 2021 and $8 million in 2022.

            “We scouted Shogo for several years in anticipation of his free agency,” Williams said. “We like his approach at the plate as well as his outfield defense, and we think he will complement our team very well.”

            Akiyama will be introduced at a press conference at 10:00 a.m. Wednesday in The Handlebar at the Riverfront Club at Great American Ball Park. Media can use BBWAA or 2019 Reds season credentials and should enter the ballpark at the Dock 3 media entrance, located on street level adjacent to Heritage Bank Center (formerly US Bank Arena).

            Akiyama, 31, would be the first player born in Japan to appear in a game for the Reds. Cincinnati is the only Major League franchise never to have an appearance by a player born in that country.

            In 2019, 7 Japanese-born players made at least one Major League appearance. In Major League history, 67 players born in Japan have made at least 1 appearance.

            Akiyama hit .301 with an on-base percentage of .376 during a 9-year career in Nippon Professional Baseball, all with the Seibu Lions of Japan’s Pacific League. The center fielder was a 5-time Pacific League All-Star, 4 times received a Best Nine Award as 1 of the league’s 3 best offensive outfielders and 6 times won a Golden Glove Award as 1 of the PL’s 3 best defensive outfielders.

            In 2015, Akiyama established a Nippon Professional Baseball single-season record for hits with 216.

            Last season for Seibu, Akiyama hit .303 with a .392 on-base percentage, 31 doubles, 4 triples, 20 HR and 62 RBI. He was a Pacific League All-Star for the fifth time in his 9-year career, earned his sixth Golden Glove Award for defense and his fourth Best Nine Award for offense.

            In October, Akiyama filed for free agency and became eligible to sign with a Major League Baseball team.