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MLB Rumors: Masataka Yoshida to Be Posted Wednesday; Yankees Previously Linked to OF

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured Columnist IVDecember 6, 2022

YOKOHAMA, JAPAN - AUGUST 07: Outfielder Masataka Yoshida #34 of Team Japan reacts while at bat in the sixth inning against Team United States during the gold medal game between Team United States and Team Japan on day fifteen of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Yokohama Baseball Stadium on August 07, 2021 in Yokohama, Kanagawa, Japan. (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)
Steph Chambers/Getty Images

Major League Baseball teams looking for outfield help this offseason reportedly have another option to choose from in free agency.

ESPN's Jeff Passan reported Japanese star Masataka Yoshida will be posted Wednesday by the Orix Buffaloes of Nippon Professional Baseball, meaning he can sign with an MLB team through Jan. 20. "Teams see Yoshida as a plug-and-play left-field option with elite bat-to-ball skills," Passan wrote.

MLB Network's Jon Morosi previously reported the New York Yankees were interested.

MLB's posting system means the Buffaloes, for whom Yoshida played last year, would receive compensation based on his contract.

Per Passan, the Buffaloes would get $5 million for the first $25 million of his contract, $4.375 million of the next $25 million and 15 percent of anything after $50 million. Teams interested in signing him will need to consider that cost, especially since it will come on top of the contract it pays to add him to the lineup.

Still, Yoshida figures to be an impact player from the moment he arrives stateside.

He is in his prime at 29 years old and slashed .335/.447/.551 with 21 home runs, 88 RBI and 80 walks for Orix last season. He topped NPB in OPS in each of the last two campaigns and helped lead the Buffaloes to a Japan Series championship last season.

Yoshida has slashed .327/.421/.539 over his seven-year tenure with the team.

Bleacher Report's Joel Reuter ranked him as the 22nd-best available player going into winter meetings.

He should command a notable contract given the combination of his talent and the lack of outfield depth in this year's free-agency class. While Aaron Judge is the headliner, Brandon Nimmo is the only other top-10 free agent who plays the outfield on Reuter's list.

And he was No. 10.

Yoshida won't command the attention that players like Judge do this offseason, but he can impact the game in a number of ways and could hit better than .300 at the major league level.