June 16, 2021

Reds Add Shogo Akiyama, Spur More Francisco Lindor Speculation (FanGraphs)

This year’s free agent market provided few options for teams seeking center fielders. Only 36-year-old Brett Gardner made our Top 50 Free Agents list, and he’s played a significant number of innings in the corners. The non-tendering of Kevin Pillar added another option, but he’s a slightly below-average performer and forecasts to be the same this season. None of the other major league free agents projects for even a win above replacement next season. All of that combined to make Shogo Akiyama potentially the best — and possibly the only — full-time starting center fielder available for a team hoping to contend. The Reds have been very clear about their wish to contend in 2020 and with multiple question marks in their outfield, Akiyama and Cincinnati have reportedly agreed on a three-year deal. The cost isn’t yet known, but reports have thrown out figures in the $15 million to $20 million range.

Akiyama comes to the Reds without a posting fee due to his tenure in Japan. He will be 32 years old in April, though he’s been incredibly durable the last five years, playing in the maximum 143 games each year and averaging 674 plate appearances per season during that…

Read “Reds Add Shogo Akiyama, Spur More Francisco Lindor Speculation” at FanGraphs