Yasuaki Yamasaki could have been an intriguing option for major league teams if he wanted to come stateside. Instead, he appears set to finish his career with the Yokohama BayStars.
According to The Mainichi, Yamasaki has signed a six year deal with the BayStars. Not only will he be paid approximately $2.16 million per season, but he does not have an opt-out clause. Yamasaki is staying put for the foreseeable future.
Yasuaki Yamasaki content to further Nippon Professional Baseball legacy
Yamasaki had already cemented his place in Nippon Professional Baseball history. Earlier in 2022, he became the eighth pitcher in league history, as well as the youngest, to notch 200 saves over the course of his career. It is possible that, by the end of this contract, Yamasaki could be the second pitcher in NPB history to reach the 300 save plateau, joining the legendary Iwase Hitoki as the only members of that club.
This contract is also a testament to Yamasaki’s perseverance. A former five time All Star and one of the best closers in the game, he battled injuries and inconsistency as he lost his spot in the back of the BayStars bullpen. It was beginning to be fair to wonder how much he had left.
But Yamasaki alleviated those concerns last season. Although he said he is not back to where he had been before, he was still able to dominate last season. He posted a stellar 1.33 ERA and a 0.669 WHiP in his 54.1 innings, notching 37 saves while striking out 42 batters and issuing nine walks. If he is not back to what he feels is a dominant form, just imagine what he could do next year if he finally feels healthy again.
That is what the BayStars are banking on. Yamasaki has reclaimed his place as one of the better relievers in the league and, as he is just 30 years old, should be in the middle of his prime. That impressive run could continue for the next few years as well.
Yasuaki Yamasaki would have been an intriguing option for major league teams. Instead, he is staying with the Yokohamo BayStars on a six year deal.