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Red Sox Sign Star Japanese Outfielder Masataka Yoshida

On the heels of a 78-84 season, the Red Sox have made a significant upgrade to their lineup for 2023.

Boston has agreed to a five-year deal with Japanese outfielder Masataka Yoshida, according to a Wednesday report from ESPN’s Jeff Passan. The deal will guarantee Yoshida $90 million, while the Red Sox also will pay a $15.4 million posting fee to his Japanese club.

Yoshida, 29, has spent the past seven seasons with the Orix Buffaloes of Japan’s Pacific League. With Orix, he slashed .327/.421/.539 in 781 career games, hitting 133 home runs and driving in 467 runs. In 2022, Yoshida struck out just 41 times in 508 plate appearances, per Passan.

The 2020 Olympic gold medalist won the Pacific League’s batting title in 2020 and 2021. In 2022, Yoshida helped the Buffaloes win the best-of-seven Japan Series in six games, hitting a walk-off home run in Game 5.

Orix formally posted Yoshida on Wednesday morning.

Yoshida’s deal is notably bigger than that of Cubs outfielder Seiya Suzuki, who signed a five-year deal worth $85 million in March 2022. At the time, Suzuki’s contract was the largest ever given by an MLB team to a Japanese position player. Suzuki went on to hit .262 in his rookie season and win April’s National League Rookie of the Month award.

The Red Sox finished last in the American League East in 2022, 21 games behind the first-place Yankees. Their team OPS of .731 was their lowest since 2014, when they finished 71-91.

Boston is scheduled to open its season against the Orioles on Mar. 30, 2023, at Fenway Park.