Reds make signing of Japanese outfielder official

Shogo Akiyama will be introduced at press conference Wednesday in Cincinnati

Credit: Kiyoshi Ota

Credit: Kiyoshi Ota

The Cincinnati Reds announced the signing of Japanese outfielder Shogo Akiyama to a three-year, $21-million contract through the 2022 season. News of the signing was first reported Dec. 30 but became official Monday.

The Reds will introduce Akiyama at a press conference Wednesday at Great American Ball Park.

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

Akiyama, 31, will become the first player from Japan to play for the Reds, who were the last team in baseball to have not signed a player from Japan. He hit .301 with 20 home runs last season for Seibu. Akiyama has played his entire career in Japan.

Akiyama announced in October he would file for international free agency with the goal of playing in the United States. His contract will pay him $6 million in 2020, $7 million in 2021 and $8 million in 2022.

The Reds have made headlines with two free-agent signings this offseason, adding infielder Mike Moustakas and starting pitcher Wade Miley.

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