CINCINNATI (FOX19) - The Reds signed Shogo Akiyama to a three-year, $21 million contract on Monday and introduced the Japanese All-Star at a press conference Wednesday.
Akiyama is the first Japanese-born player in Reds history. Cincinnati is the only Major League franchise never to have an appearance by a player born in Japan.
“We scouted Shogo for several years in anticipation of his free agency,” Reds President of Baseball Operations Dick 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 and Cincinnati agreed to a deal last month, but he needed additional time to schedule a second trip from Japan to the U.S. for a physical.
Akiyama, 31, is a .301 career hitter in nine seasons with the Seibu Lions and made all five of his Pacific League All-Star teams in each of the last five seasons. The left-handed hitter has averaged 23 homers over his last three years.
The Reds introduceed Akiyama at a press conference Tuesday morning at Great American Ball Park.