Shogo Akiyama of the Nippon Professional Baseball League in Japan has entered into the free agent frenzy in 2020. Akiyama, 31, is not exactly in the realm of some recent Japanese imports talent-wise, but he figures to command a decent salary on the open market.
Japanese star Shogo Akiyama drawing MLB interest: https://t.co/IYAiW3m9ro pic.twitter.com/jqZgxCNP5Q
— MLB Trade Rumors (@mlbtraderumors) October 22, 2019
Akiyama is a left-handed hitting outfielder and is currently playing for the Seibu Lions in the NPB. The Dodgers are pretty crowded in the outfield and have a plethora of left-handed hitters, but at the right price, Akiyama could become of interest to Los Angeles.
The 31-year-old outfielder has played nine seasons in Japan and has put together a very respectable .301/.376/.454 slash line there. Akiyama has hit put it into an entirely different gear since 2015, however, with him slashing .321/.399/.497 since then. Akiyama is also known as an above-average center fielder defensively.
Akiyama’s market figures to be a favorable one for him considering the lack of impact outfielders on the market — seemingly limited to Pirates center fielder Starling Marte.
There are already reports of interest out of numerous MLB organizations’ camps including the San Francisco Giants, Sad Diego Padres, Arizona Diamondbacks, and Chicago Cubs.
Overall, while Akiyama would not be a seamless fit with the Dodgers and they most likely will not be heavily involved in his market, he will be a big name to watch due to the reported interest coming from division rivals. With the San Diego Padres on the rise, Akiyama could be another piece to the puzzle for them.