Red Sox sign Masataka Yoshida

scottyno

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I was reading that the Dodgers want an inexpensive CF and were considering a plus defender (Kiermaier). Maybe Hernandez gets moved? He was beloved on the LAD. Maybe a three-way deal?
Then we're back to Duran in center field, no thanks.
 

LogansDad

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I was reading that the Dodgers want an inexpensive CF and were considering a plus defender (Kiermaier). Maybe Hernandez gets moved? He was beloved on the LAD. Maybe a three-way deal?
They just signed him to an extension with a promise to work to make the team better in 2023. For all the talk about losing guys due to location (i.e. Eflin), I think trading a guy away under those circumstances is more likely to make free agents not want to sign here.
 

Yo La Tengo

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Then we're back to Duran in center field, no thanks.
I think we both know there is zero chance that will be the plan for 2023. My point is that the Dodgers are looking for a cost-controlled CF who is an excellent defender AND they have a very high opinion of Hernandez. That opens up some potential opportunities for a trade.
 

Tokyo Sox

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Yoshida most definitely did NOT lead "Nippon Professional Baseball" in OPS the last two seasons. He led the Pacific League, but each year he was 2nd to a CL player - Seiya Suzuki last year, and my main man Munetaka Murakami this year. He was 160 points of OPS behind Murakami this year.

I was expecting the posting discussion to take a month.....wow. Stunned.
Same, this was quite surprising.

Are posting fee’s included in luxury tax numbers?
Addressed but, no.

Any reports on speed? Limits on pickoffs and new bases sizes make stealing more attractive.
He doesn't run.

I look forward to seeing how the power translates (if), but pretty psyched about the discipline and fielding.
Looks like the type of swing that gets you .300+ with 40 doubles
This is what I'm hoping for. It's funny, for a guy with a career .960 OPS, he doesn't hit many HR. He's never hit 30 in a season.

Somewhat nervous but also excited by this signing. ~17mm isn't a trivial outlay, but if he plays to his potential the upside is massive. The thing that is scaring me is the general failure rate of NPB hitters in MLB is pretty high. I hate the idea of dead money on the books in 2025-2027, but there is enough upside here to make it work. If he can turn in 2-3 wins a year that's a very solid deal.
The bolded is also my concern, and I think is enough of an issue now that some MLB teams are focusing only on Japanese pitchers, and staying away from the hitters. Like you said, I just want him to be productive. 2-3 wins is fine with me. "Nervous but excited" is exactly where I am.

Frustratingly, last year about 5 minutes after the Sox traded Renfroe I went on the Hiroshima Carp online team store and bought a couple Seiya Suzuki jerseys. This year I wait until they sign a guy, and there's no stock left on the Buffaloes team store in any adult sized Yoshida jerseys.
 

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I think we both know there is zero chance that will be the plan for 2023. My point is that the Dodgers are looking for a cost-controlled CF who is an excellent defender AND they have a very high opinion of Hernandez. That opens up some potential opportunities for a trade.
Except the Sox appear to share the very high opinion of him, which is why they re-signed him. I don't see them wanting to open a new hole by trading him.
 

scottyno

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I think we both know there is zero chance that will be the plan for 2023. My point is that the Dodgers are looking for a cost-controlled CF who is an excellent defender AND they have a very high opinion of Hernandez. That opens up some potential opportunities for a trade.
But if the Sox would then need to go out and find another center fielder why would they trade the one they liked enough to just recently extend him?
 

Sox Puppet

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I thought it was my imagination, but at 0:54 of that video he is wearing a jersey that says "Harper" on the back. I guess he really does like Bryce.
 

Murderer's Crow

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It's less obvious today to people like me who don't pay attention to Japanese baseball but how big is the disparity between the leagues nowadays? Are pitchers throwing 98+ with wicked sliders there too?
 

johnlos

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I agree with your conclusion, but not sure that he can really be characterized as high floor. There's a definite chance that he just can't make the transition to MLB. Seiya Suzuki put up OPS numbers better than Yoshida (in the ~1.050) range for the last few years of his NPB career (at a younger age) and then dropped down to .766 in his first year in MLB. And that's probably not Yoshida's floor.

We've seen enough people crush it at Worcester to the tune of 1.000+ OPS only to look like fools at the MLB level to know that transitioning up like that is far from guaranteed.
Suzuki was 1.018, 0.953, 1.069 his last 3 years in Japan (mean 1.013). Hit 0.770 with Cubs which was good for 116 wRC+ and 2 WAR despite negative defense. A bit lower than expected from projections (https://blogs.fangraphs.com/projecting-seiya-suzuki/)

Yoshida was 0.983, 1.007, 1.008 his last 3 years (mean 0.999). If he puts up multiple years of 116 wRC+ and 2 WAR I think we'd be pretty happy. And people generally consider Suzuki to have had a down "transition" year largely due to injury (https://theathletic.com/3658594/2022/10/05/seiya-suzuki-cubs-season/). One other note from The Athletic piece (https://theathletic.com/3928988/2022/11/23/masataka-yoshida-free-agent-japan/?source=user_shared_article) on him: "...the Pacific League (where Yoshida played and highly coveted free-agent Koudai Senga pitched) is considered to be a tougher league to hit in than the Central (where Suzuki and Tsutsugo played)."

So while I agree it's hard to project a "floor" due to the transition, there's certainly upside to chase.
 
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Yo La Tengo

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But if the Sox would then need to go out and find another center fielder why would they trade the one they liked enough to just recently extend him?
To state the obvious, they would have to make one or more additional moves thereafter. The value comes from if the LAD value Kike and his contract more than the Red Sox do.
 

nvalvo

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I absolutely think Verdugo will get moved. Need a move power/defense combo type in right.
I think you might be right about that. Kepler?

At the least they need someone good either offensively or defensively. Verdugo is a mediocre defender and dead average hitter. Really he’s the kind of guy that small market teams like because they’re fungible.
Verdugo’s best attribute, and I am not discounting it, is his lack of a platoon split. So there is something of a consistency to him: he’s not great, but he’s competitive against everybody, and that has value on a roster.

Still, I think you’re right that we need a better defender.
 

johnlos

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Supposedly he's a huge Bryce Harper fan and that's what Bryce has been doing at CBP
"The interpreter pointed to the player wearing No. 34. By then, in 2020, those much more informed than Jones had taken to calling this player “Harper.” The nickname was in reference to Bryce Harper. Like Harper, he had a sweet lefty swing, played the outfield and had a reputation for tormenting pitchers. Also, he idolized Harper. The fact this player wore 34, Harper’s old number with the Nationals, only made sense.

The player was Masataka Yoshida."

Looks like 34 is available too :D
 

JM3

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To state the obvious, they would have to make one or more additional moves thereafter. The value comes from if the LAD value Kike and his contract more than the Red Sox do.
Signing a guy shortly before he would become a free agent & then immediately turning around & trading him would be such a dirty maneuver that it really shouldn't be countenanced.

He should also have at least as high of a value to the Red Sox as he does to the Dodgers who let him walk to begin with.

Looking forward to the TAKA era.
 

Tokyo Sox

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I thought it was my imagination, but at 0:54 of that video he is wearing a jersey that says "Harper" on the back. I guess he really does like Bryce.
Yes, Harper is well known to be his favorite player, and some of gaijin yakyuu twitter will just refer to Yoshida as "Harper" from time to time. There's a picture out there somewhere of Yoshida in a full Harper Phillies uni.

It's less obvious today to people like me who don't pay attention to Japanese baseball but how big is the disparity between the leagues nowadays? Are pitchers throwing 98+ with wicked sliders there too?
25 years ago the "conventional wisdom" was that NPB is somewhere between AA and AAA. After Ichiro and 20+ years of player moves, scouting, and data, I think it's now pretty well recognized as AAAA and the 2nd best professional league in the world. Average FB velocity is not what it is in MLB, but there are plenty of guys that throw 95+. The other two Japanese players looking to move to MLB this offseason, Senga and Fujinami, are both RHP that throw 98. Roki Sasaki throws 99-102. But Yoshida wouldn't have been facing that kind of pitching on a daily basis.
 

Murderer's Crow

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Yes, Harper is well known to be his favorite player, and some of gaijin yakyuu twitter will just refer to Yoshida as "Harper" from time to time. There's a picture out there somewhere of Yoshida in a full Harper Phillies uni.


25 years ago the "conventional wisdom" was that NPB is somewhere between AA and AAA. After Ichiro and 20+ years of player moves, scouting, and data, I think it's now pretty well recognized as AAAA and the 2nd best professional league in the world. Average FB velocity is not what it is in MLB, but there are plenty of guys that throw 95+. The other two Japanese players looking to move to MLB this offseason, Senga and Fujinami, are both RHP that throw 98. Roki Sasaki throws 99-102. But Yoshida wouldn't have been facing that kind of pitching on a daily basis.
Thank you!
 

BuellMiller

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"The interpreter pointed to the player wearing No. 34. By then, in 2020, those much more informed than Jones had taken to calling this player “Harper.” The nickname was in reference to Bryce Harper. Like Harper, he had a sweet lefty swing, played the outfield and had a reputation for tormenting pitchers. Also, he idolized Harper. The fact this player wore 34, Harper’s old number with the Nationals, only made sense.

The player was Masataka Yoshida."

Looks like 34 is available too :D
It is?
 

BigSoxFan

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I read that he is a good baserunner who maximizes the speed he has. So not a burner but far from a liability on the base paths.
If he’s a good base runner, I’m not sure he’s a great fit on this team…
 

Tokyo Sox

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By the way, maybe better for a Red Sox rumors or a wild speculation thread, but if anyone is inclined to give Bloom credit for playing 4D chess, I hope there's some chance this signing makes it easier to get Yoshida's Orix Buffaloes teammate Yoshinobu Yamamoto if (when) he makes the move at this time next year. YY is better and younger than Senga and will be the most sought after Japanese player since Ohtani.

I'm obviously hopeful Yoshida makes a successful transition. But I'm *really* hopeful it helps us get Yamamoto too.
 

chrisfont9

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25 years ago the "conventional wisdom" was that NPB is somewhere between AA and AAA. After Ichiro and 20+ years of player moves, scouting, and data, I think it's now pretty well recognized as AAAA and the 2nd best professional league in the world. Average FB velocity is not what it is in MLB, but there are plenty of guys that throw 95+. The other two Japanese players looking to move to MLB this offseason, Senga and Fujinami, are both RHP that throw 98. Roki Sasaki throws 99-102. But Yoshida wouldn't have been facing that kind of pitching on a daily basis.
Someone linked to an article in The Athletic that described the Pacific League as being more typically 85-90mph with a lot of breaking stuff. But there are anecdotes about him squaring up the guys who throw hard too.
 

mikcou

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Signing a guy shortly before he would become a free agent & then immediately turning around & trading him would be such a dirty maneuver that it really shouldn't be countenanced.

He should also have at least as high of a value to the Red Sox as he does to the Dodgers who let him walk to begin with.

Looking forward to the TAKA era.
I agree it would be silly to trade Hernandez, but Theo did sign Arroyo to a team friendly multi year deal in January of 2003 and traded him two months later for Wily Mo. Nothing long term happened with free agents - people acknowledge that unless you get a no trade clause, teams will do what they will.
 

8slim

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Excellent! I know absolutely nothing about this guy. I’m just thrilled we’re trying. Thrilled!
 
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ehaz

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By the way, maybe better for a Red Sox rumors or a wild speculation thread, but if anyone is inclined to give Bloom credit for playing 4D chess, I hope there's some chance this signing makes it easier to get Yoshida's Orix Buffaloes teammate Yoshinobu Yamamoto if (when) he makes the move at this time next year. YY is better and younger than Senga and will be the most sought after Japanese player since Ohtani.

I'm obviously hopeful Yoshida makes a successful transition. But I'm *really* hopeful it helps us get Yamamoto too.
Is Yamamoto really going to be posted next year? He's still really young. Or did the posting rules change so that NPB teams are better incentivized to post their stars?

Any chance we'll see Roki Sasaki come stateside too?
 

phrenile

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Yes, Harper is well known to be his favorite player, and some of gaijin yakyuu twitter will just refer to Yoshida as "Harper" from time to time. There's a picture out there somewhere of Yoshida in a full Harper Phillies uni.
58616

He named his dog Harper and named his cat Bryce.

58615
 

Tokyo Sox

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Is Yamamoto really going to be posted next year? He's still really young. Or did the posting rules change so that NPB teams are better incentivized to post their stars?

Any chance we'll see Roki Sasaki come stateside too?
Yamamoto will be 25 next August and therefore not impacted by the international bonus pool age cap thing that Ohtani got caught up in, if he goes for 2024. Posting rules have changed gradually over the years but actually the Japanese teams tend to lose leverage/financial incentives each time. It's usually a more qualitative process these days - has the player given the team enough good years, did he win any individual awards, did the team win any pennants/championships with him, etc. The answer with Yamamoto is yes to all of those. Financially there will be at least some incentive to post him I guess because if he stays healthy in 2023 he should get a pretty massive deal.

Roki just turned 21 and I think is more likely to go for the 2025 season than 2024, but to me there's no way he waits four more years til he's 25. I'd call 2024 maybe 25%, 2025 70% and later than that 5%. I just made those #'s up though.

edit: they both have every intention of going though; they were interviewed together after the ASG this year and both unequivocally voiced their desire to go.
 

johnlos

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"The interpreter pointed to the player wearing No. 34. By then, in 2020, those much more informed than Jones had taken to calling this player “Harper.” The nickname was in reference to Bryce Harper. Like Harper, he had a sweet lefty swing, played the outfield and had a reputation for tormenting pitchers. Also, he idolized Harper. The fact this player wore 34, Harper’s old number with the Nationals, only made sense.

The player was Masataka Yoshida."

Looks like 34 is available too :D
maybe I meant ;)
 

JFK35

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The responses to this … mocking the people who have rightly criticized ownership … are WILD.

This is nice but …. Just so far away from where they need to be it barely moves the needle for me
 

SouthernBoSox

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The responses to this … mocking the people who have rightly criticized ownership … are WILD.

This is nice but …. Just so far away from where they need to be it barely moves the needle for me
Legitimately think people like this should be banned. Every single thread is poisoned by this non sense….

They just spent ONE HUNDRED MILLION DOLLARS on a non mlb player.

Maybe this isn’t the thread to complain about ownership spending. Just maybe. Move along.
 

8slim

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The responses to this … mocking the people who have rightly criticized ownership … are WILD.

This is nice but …. Just so far away from where they need to be it barely moves the needle for me
Barely? That’s a terrible take.
 

beautokyo

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Yoshida most definitely did NOT lead "Nippon Professional Baseball" in OPS the last two seasons. He led the Pacific League, but each year he was 2nd to a CL player - Seiya Suzuki last year, and my main man Munetaka Murakami this year. He was 160 points of OPS behind Murakami this year.


Same, this was quite surprising.


Addressed but, no.

He doesn't run.



This is what I'm hoping for. It's funny, for a guy with a career .960 OPS, he doesn't hit many HR. He's never hit 30 in a season.

The bolded is also my concern, and I think is enough of an issue now that some MLB teams are focusing only on Japanese pitchers, and staying away from the hitters. Like you said, I just want him to be productive. 2-3 wins is fine with me. "Nervous but excited" is exactly where I am.

Frustratingly, last year about 5 minutes after the Sox traded Renfroe I went on the Hiroshima Carp online team store and bought a couple Seiya Suzuki jerseys. This year I wait until they sign a guy, and there's no stock left on the Buffaloes team store in any adult sized Yoshida jerseys.
Couldn't agree with you more on your assessment. Munetaka Murakami is my favorite player too. I won't wear a "Swallows" Jersey though.....just something creepy about it in my dark mind. I do live close to Jingu Stadium.....

Back to topic.....I think he'll be fine in LF at FP once he learns the wall. I can see him as leadoff DH on the road at times. The no shift is going to help him but the lack of speed isn't going to make him anywhere near Suzuki. I like this addition.
 
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SouthernBoSox

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I’d be stunned if Verdugo was sent off in a package for a legit RF with pop.

He just done a make sense in the roster
 

ehaz

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Very small samples but at least some evidence of how Yoshida will hit against MLB quality pitching:

"Yoshida isn’t just piling up stats against weaker arms either. The Pacific League is home to many of Japan’s best young pitchers. While he does not have to face teammate Yoshinobu Yamamoto, he has hit well against fellow MLB hopeful Koudai Senga, NPB wonderkid Roki Sasaki, and veteran Masahiro Tanaka. He’s a combined 19-for-53 (.358) with 10 walks against them. He’s also 10-for-24 (.417) in the last three seasons against the Pacific League’s top lefty relievers, Yuki Matsui and Livan Moinelo."

For the uninitiated, Roki Sasaki is the 20 year old who threw a 19K perfect game this year. He averaged 99.5 MPH with his fastball and 92.1 MPH with his splitter. That splitter is about 3 MPH harder than Ohtani's with 4 more inches of horizontal break.

https://www.sportsinfosolutions.com/2022/11/17/npb-free-agent-scouting-report-masataka-yoshida/
 

nvalvo

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I’d be stunned if Verdugo was sent off in a package for a legit RF with pop.

He just done a make sense in the roster
I'm gonna just assume that there were some double negatives intended here, and try to think about what a good trade might be.

I think we would want a player with positive dWAR in the outfield over the last three seasons — Fenway's RF is no joke — and a wRC+ over 110 over the same time frame.

That narrows things down considerably: we end up with Mookie Betts, Brandon Nimmo, Cedric Mullins, Byron Buxton, Jeff McNeil, Tyler O'Neill, and Chas McCormick.

Of those, Tyler O'Neill seems like the only player who might conceivably be available in trade. We'd also be betting somewhat on a rebound, but the numbers under the hood look fine and there were some injuries. Does something like Houck + Verdugo + *spins wheel* Bonaci for O'Neill and a lesser reliever get that done? I can't decide if that's an overpay or a trade offer that gets laughed at. BTV thinks it's fair, but ¯\_(ツ)_/¯