Japanese all-star outfielder Masataka Yoshida is now part of the Boston Red Sox after signing a five-year, $90 million contract with the baseball team on Thursday.
Yoshida’s entry into Major League Baseball (MLB) came as a welcome surprise as his previous team, Nippon Professional Baseball’s Orix Buffaloes, recently posted the 29-year-old star on the morning of Dec. 7.
The Boston team reportedly agreed to the contract’s terms just hours after the Japanese athlete was posted.
“I’m Masataka Yoshida. I’m 29 years old,” the baseball star told audience members at a recent press conference. “I have played for the Orix Buffaloes for seven years.”
“I don’t speak English. [I’m] so nervous. I want to learn English, and I want to speak it. I’m honored to be with Red Sox Nation. I’ll do my best. Thank you.”
When asked why he chose the Boston team, Yoshida explained that he considers the Red Sox to be the best out of the 30 MLB teams.
The Red Sox will reportedly have to pay a posting fee of approximately $15.38 million to the Orix Buffaloes.
This does not count toward the Red Sox’s Competitive Balance Tax payroll.
Gus Quattlebaum, the Boston team’s vice president of professional scouting, reportedly led a group to evaluate Yoshida.
While playing for the Orix Buffaloes, Yoshida reportedly had a .327 career batting average with 467 RBIs (Runs Batted In) and 133 homers over the course of 762 games, or seven seasons.
A decorated baseball player in Japan, Yoshida helped lead his previous team to the 2022 Japan Series title – the team’s first championship in 26 years – after hitting a walk-off home run in Game 5.
During his career playing in the Nippon Professional Baseball league, Yoshida was named a four-time NPB All-Star and two-time Pacific League batting champion. He also received a gold medal at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.