Masataka Yoshida, a two-time batting champion in Japan's Pacific League, has agreed to join the Boston Red Sox, his agent Scott Boras confirmed Wednesday.
"The Red Sox made their first major counter move to the rival Yankees, agreeing to a five-year, $90 million deal with Japanese outfielder Masataka Yoshida," MLB.com reported earlier in the day.
"The club has not confirmed the move," it said. "The Red Sox will have to pay a $15.375 million posting fee to the Orix Buffaloes based on the $90 million contract for Yoshida."
Masataka Yoshida of the Orix Buffaloes hits a game-tying RBI single in the ninth inning of a Pacific League game against the SoftBank Hawks on Sept. 19, 2022, at Kyocera Dome Osaka, western Japan. (Kyodo)
Yoshida was quickly picked up by Boston after the 45-day negotiation window opened the same day for the 29-year-old left-handed hitter, who was posted by the Osaka-based Buffaloes.
The Red Sox finished last in the AL East this year with a 78-84 record.
In the 2022 postseason, Yoshida helped the franchise win its first Japan Series title since Ichiro Suzuki and the Orix BlueWave triumphed in 1996. Yoshida hit a walk-off two-run homer in Game 5 of the series.
If it materializes, Yoshida's deal will be the highest ever signed by a Japanese position player at the time of a move from Japan to the United States. Before the 2022 season, the Chicago Cubs signed outfielder Seiya Suzuki to a five-year, $85 million contract.
Yoshida, Orix's first-round pick out of Aoyama Gakuin University in the 2015 Nippon Professional Baseball draft, led the Pacific League in batting average for two years in a row from 2020.
He hit .335 with 21 home runs and 88 RBIs in 119 games this year, while having a PL-leading on-base percentage of .447 and striking out just 41 times.
Yoshida also played for Japan at last year's Tokyo Olympic baseball tournament, contributing to the host nation's gold-winning campaign. He has a .327 career batting average with 133 homers and 467 RBIs over seven seasons, all with the Buffaloes.