The Boston Red Sox raised some eyebrows on Wednesday when they signed outfielder Masataka Yoshida to a five-year, $90 million contract, and many are still confused by the deal.
ESPN's Kiley McDaniel spoke to "10 sources" who all "thought the Red Sox overpaid by a hefty margin." One executive went as far as to say, "We thought he was worth less than half of what they paid."
Yoshida played seven seasons with the Orix Buffaloes, the reigning Japan Series champions. This past season, he hit .335/.447/.561 with 21 home runs, 80 walks and 41 strikeouts in 508 plate appearances. In his career, he's hit .326/.419/.538 with just 307 strikeouts in 3,251 plate appearances.
However, there are many around the league that believe Yoshida is simply not worth the price Boston paid, which included a $15.4 million posting fee to the Buffaloes. He will turn 30 in July and projects to be limited defensively. McDaniel stated that he played 79 games as a designated hitter against just 40 games in the outfield.
While there are question marks about his ability to be an every day outfielder, Yoshida's impressive hitting ability could make up for any defensive woes.
McDaniel stated: "Everyone I spoke with likes his swing and thinks he has average raw power, which if tapped into would translate to the 18-20 homer area that he has already demonstrated. A rival exec with a rosier projection put it this way: 'Our evals think he can really hit ... a little rich but not totally out of bounds if you're REALLY buying into the bat.'"
The Red Sox are known for their tight spending habits, so the fact that they broke the bank for Yoshida is telling of their belief in him. Only time will tell if Boston's gamble pays off.