Shogo Akiyama reached an agreement with the Cincinnati Reds to a three-year contract on Monday afternoon, as first reported by Nikkan Sports. The financial terms are not official, but expected to be worth more than $15 million for three years.
Several previous reports had Akiyama linked to the Chicago Cubs, Arizona Diamondbacks and San Diego Padres as candidates.
Akiyama, who turns 32 in April, was a leadoff hitter for the Saitama Seibu Lions and broke a single-season hits record in 2015 with 216, passing Matt Murton, who passed a previous record from Ichiro Suzuki.
He was the leadoff hitter for majority of the last five seasons and recently began hitting home runs. In 2019, Akiyama batted .303/.392/.471 with 20 home runs.
Akiyama will fill a need at centerfield for the Reds as Nick Senzel is coming off shoulder surgery. Last fall, Akiyama was hit by a pitch during the Premier 12 and is rehabbing his own injury.
With Akiyama joining the Reds pending a physical, he will be the first Japanese-born player in franchise history as they are the only MLB team without one.
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