A recent rumor mentions that the San Diego Padres at least have interest in free agent outfielder Shogo Akiyama from Japan.
As A.J. Preller continues to try and revamp the San Diego Padres outfield he could be looking to Japan for the answer.
According to a couple of outlets, the Padres are among several teams who have expressed interest in the free agent.
And while the source is unverified, Sports Hochi (Japanese language) says that, “Akiyama has narrowed things down to the Padres and Reds.”
Akiyama is 31-years-old and will turn 32 in April, so he’s not exactly a young buck. But they do list him as a centerfielder.
In 2019 he hit .303/.392 with 20 home runs, 112 runs, 62 RBI, and 12 stolen bases in 590 at-bats.
What may be most impressive about Akiyama is his durability as he’s played in 143 games in five straight seasons.
The left-handed centerfielder would be a great fit in the Padres lineup if Preller can land him.
The only question now is, what will it take to sign him?
Recently the Tampa Bay Rays signed a Japanese player in Yoshitomo Tsutsugo for two years and $12 million.
Tsutsugo is only 28, plays multiple positions, and has hit 44, 28, 38, and 29 home runs in the past four seasons over in Japan.
I would have to think Akiyama would sign for a similar deal, but with the lack of centerfielders available this offseason could drive up the price.
Another Japanese outlet states that the Reds have a multi-year offer already on the table for Akiyama.
It sounds like the sweepstakes are picking up and it’s possible we’ll have a decision by the end of the year.
Akiyama certainly seems like the centerfielder we need in this lineup, but we’ll see how far Preller is willing to go to land him.