It wasn’t all bad news for the Red Sox Wednesday. Though losing Xander Bogaerts to the Padres is enraging, they did outlay the most money ever to sign a Japanese position player.
The Red Sox paid $104.5 million for outfielder Masataka Yoshida, combining his posting fee and five-year, $90 million contract. Back in 2006, they paid $103.1 million to sign Daisuke Matsuzaka.
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With a lifetime slash line of 326/.419/.538, Yoshida was among the best hitters in Japan. This season, the 29-year-old slashed .335/.447/.561 with 21 home runs, 80 walks and 41 strikeouts.
The Red Sox, whose leadoff hitters posted a .295 OBP last season, could use Yoshida’s command of the strike zone at the top of the order.
Back in November, two former Major Leaguers who played with and against Yoshida, raved to the New York Post about his offensive ability.
“He is as legit as they come,” said his now-former teammate and outfielder Joe McCarthy. He didn’t slump for five months. He can go gap to gap. He just constantly barrels up pitches. He is not physically impressive at all. He’s a smaller guy, but he has some of the most insane pop I’ve ever seen for someone of his stature.”
Pitcher Colin Rea also talked up Yoshida -- big time.
“He’s an incredible hitter,” said Rea. “Yoshida impresses every game, every at-bat. He’s unique.”
Yoshida won’t be able to replace Bogaerts, but maybe he’s a start.