The Boston Red Sox needed help in the outfield. In theory, they have added someone who could make an impact on their lineup.
On Thursday, Jeff Passan from ESPN reported that the Red Sox signed Masataka Yoshida. He will receive a five year deal worth $90 million, while the Orix Buffaloes will receive a $15.4 million posting fee, bringing the total outlay to $105.4 million.
Masataka Yoshida an expensive gamble for Boston Red Sox
Yoshida should help the Red Sox lineup. He has been an on base machine for the Buffaloes, posting a .327/.421/.539 batting line in his 3189 plate appearances in Japan. He has solid power as well, with 133 homers and 161 doubles in his seven years in Nippon Professional Baseball.
His scouting report backs those numbers up. Yoshida was considered to be one of the best pure hitters in NPB, someone with an excellent command of the strike zone and innate ability to make contact. His quick bat and surprising strength despite a smaller stature should help him find success in the majors.
The problem is that he is not an outfielder. Yoshida is tentative at best when it comes to his defense and is strictly limited to left field. He spent the vast majority of 2022 as the Buffaloes’ designated hitter due to being a defensive liability, appearing in left in just 39 of his 119 games.
Yes, the Red Sox need a designated hitter. J.D. Martinez is a free agent and is likely out the door. But they also need to find playing time for both Eric Hosmer and Triston Casas, with the designated hitter role the most likely spot. That is also the best fit for Yoshida. He is not going to be the outfielder that they need.
The Boston Red Sox are making a significant investment in Masataka Yoshida to help their outfield. The problem is that he should not be an outfielder.