Japanese OF Yoshida to be posted to MLB Wednesday

December 6th, 2022

Star Japanese outfielder Masataka Yoshida will be posted to MLB teams on Wednesday at 8 a.m. ET, Major League clubs have been informed. Yoshida, who has had the highest OPS in Nippon Professional Baseball’s Pacific League during each of the past two seasons, must reach a deal with a Major League club by 5 p.m. ET on Jan. 20, 2023.

Yoshida, 29, led the Orix Buffaloes to their first Japan Series title in 26 years, thanks in part to a walk-off home run that went viral around the baseball-loving world.

Because Yoshida has yet to accrue the necessary service time to become an international free agent, his only avenue to join Major League Baseball is via the posting process. Based on his age and professional experience, Yoshida will not be subject to international spending limitations.

If Yoshida agrees to an MLB contract, the Buffaloes would be compensated per the MLB-NPB transfer agreement: The Japanese club receives a release fee equivalent to 20 percent of the initial $25 million in guaranteed value, 17.5 percent of the subsequent $25 million, and 15 percent of any value beyond $50 million.

Yoshida is one of two Japanese stars expected to move to MLB this offseason. Right-handed starter Kodai Senga is an international free agent after making three All-Star teams with the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks over the last decade.

Yoshida, a gold medalist at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, is a master contact hitter who accumulated 82 walks and only 42 strikeouts in 515 plate appearances this year. His power has increased throughout his NPB career, with his OPS reaching a career-high 1.007 this season.

A solid defender in left field, Yoshida is among the candidates the Yankees will consider for an outfield role this winter. Because of Yoshida’s offensive profile and the team’s need for a top-of-the-lineup hitter, he could fit the Yankees’ roster -- independent of whether they re-sign free agent Aaron Judge.