The Cincinnati Reds are thought to be leaders in the pursuit of outfielder Shogo Akiyama, however, the latest Reds rumors have other teams in the hunt.
Reds rumors have been heavily tilted towards Cincinnati’s pursuit of Shogo Akiyama this week. After the Christmas holiday, it was reported by several outlets that the Cincinnati Reds were thought to be the leaders in the clubhouse for the Japanese outfielder’s services. While a few teams have emerged, the Reds are still thought to be Akiyama’s top choice.
Jon Heyman, an insider at MLB Network, stated that the Reds, who’ve been aggressive this winter, are still considered the favorite to land Akiyama. However, Cincinnati has company. The Arizona Diamondbacks, Chicago Cubs, San Diego Padres, and even the Toronto Blue Jays are thought to have interest in signing thee 31-year-old.
The prospect of adding Shogo Akiyama is an interesting one. Akiyama has nine years of experience in Nippon Professional Baseball league, but is looking for a multiyear contract with a major league club this offseason. According to MLB Trade Rumors, Akiyama could likely garner a two-year/$6M deal, though some experts expect him to sign for more.
Akiyama brings the plate discipline, raw power, and speed that this Reds offense was lacking last season. Akiyama is very durable, playing 143 games the past five seasons for the Seibu Lions of the NPB league. The left-handed hitting Akiyama has 20 or more home runs the past three seasons and has had an on-base percentage above .385 the past five years.
If the Reds are able to secure Akiyama’s services, most fans would expect him to take over in center field. But, then what happens to Nick Senzel? Well, provided he’s still with Cincinnati and not shipped off to Cleveland in some sort of deal for Francisco Lindor, Senzel may move to left field or perhaps back to the infield dirt to play shortstop.
With the price tag likely to be attached to Akiyama, there’s also the possibility that he will not be an everyday player. Whether Akiyama and Senzel form some sort of platoon in center field or Akiyama rotates between all three outfield spots remains to be seen. What is apparent is the Reds interest in signing Shogo Akiyama.
Whether Shogo Akiyama signs with Cincinnati or not, the latest Reds rumors confirm the front office’s claim of a desire to upgrade the team’s hitting this offseason. Though Mike Moustakas has been the only addition to Cincinnati’s lineup this offseason, it’s obvious that Dick Williams and Nick Krall are leaving no stone unturned when it comes to improving the team’s hitting.