Japanese star Masataka Yoshida will post on Wednesday, sources told ESPN, adding an outfielder to a baseball free agent market with scant depth at the position.
Yoshida, 29, will be eligible to sign with a major league team through Jan. 20, and teams see Yoshida as a plug-and-play left-field option with elite bat-to-ball skills.
The 5-foot-8, 176-pound Yoshida hit .335/.447/.551 with 21 home runs, 88 RBIs, 80 walks and 41 strikeouts for the Orix Buffaloes last season. Over his seven-year career with Orix, the left-handed-hitting Yoshida has batted .327/.421/.539, and he led Nippon Professional Baseball each of the past two seasons in OPS. He helped steward the Buffaloes to a Japan Series championship this year.
MLB’s posting system compensates foreign teams whose players sign with a major league club. The team receives $5 million for the first $25 million of a player’s contract, $4.375 million of the next $25 million and 15% of any money beyond $50 million.
Beyond Aaron Judge, the best player in the class, the free agent market for outfielders is topped by former New York Mets center fielder Brandon Nimmo, who’s expected to command a nine-figure contract. Other outfielders who have generated significant interest include left fielder Andrew Benintendi, right fielder Mitch Haniger, center fielder Cody Bellinger and left fielder Michael Conforto.