Cincinnati Reds: Adding Shogo Akiyama likely ends pursuit of outfielders

HIROSHIMA, JAPAN - NOVEMBER 13: Outfielder Shogo Akiyama #55 of Japan hits an inside-the-park home run in the top of 8th inning during the game four between Japan and MLB All Stars at Mazda Zoom Zoom Stadium Hiroshima on November 13, 2018 in Hiroshima, Japan. (Photo by Kiyoshi Ota/Getty Images)
HIROSHIMA, JAPAN - NOVEMBER 13: Outfielder Shogo Akiyama #55 of Japan hits an inside-the-park home run in the top of 8th inning during the game four between Japan and MLB All Stars at Mazda Zoom Zoom Stadium Hiroshima on November 13, 2018 in Hiroshima, Japan. (Photo by Kiyoshi Ota/Getty Images) /
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The Cincinnati Reds have reportedly agreed to a deal with Shogo Akiyama. This likely ends the pursuit of another upgrade in the outfield.

Though the Cincinnati Reds have yet to confirm the reports, it appears that the club and Japanese outfielder Shogo Akiyama have agreed to a three-year. While it’s doubtful the Reds are finished tweaking their roster, adding Akiyama would seem to indicate an end to Cincinnati’s pursuit of Marcell Ozuna and Nicholas Castellanos.

The Reds have been looking to upgrade their hitting all offseason. Multiple rumors had Cincinnati in the bidding for Marcell Ozuna, Nicholas Castellanos, Kole Calhoun, and Corey Dickerson. End the end, however, it appears that Cincinnati settled on Shogo Akiyama.

The Japanese outfielder offers the most positional flexibility, as Akiyama not only may be counted on to play center field, but as C. Trent Rosecrans of The Athletic reports, Cincinnati views Akiyama with the potential to play all three outfield spots.

Roscrans also reports that the Reds will look to Shogo Akiyama to be a table setter at the top of the lineup. That should not come as a surprise, as Akiyama’s on-base percentage has to be a huge selling point for any team that was looking to acquire his services. Akiyama, while playing for the Seibu Lions, had an OBP north of .385 for the past five seasons.

According to Jon Heyman, an insider at MLB Network, Akiyama’s deal is likely for three year and will eclipse $20M. With an average annual value (AAV) estimated to be around $7M per season, Akiyama’s deal will come in well below the assumed commitment that it’ll take to land Ozuna or Castellanos.

According to MLB Trade Rumors, both Ozuna and Castellanos are expected to haul in north of $14M per season. Ozuna is predicted to have an AAV of $15M per season, though that price tag has likely gone up. Castellanos, being heavily courted by the Texas Rangers, is expected to land a four-year deal worth $50M.

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So, by adding Akiyama, the Reds not only have a player who can hit atop the lineup and play all over the outfield, but he comes in at a price that Cincinnati can afford while still remaining in the conversation for adding a bullpen arm or two. The Reds could also still be in the hunt for a shortstop via trade.