On January 6, 2020, they announced a three-year, $21 million pact with the veteran outfielder, who was a career .301 hitter in Japan with plenty of .400+ OBP seasons there.
The experiment didn’t go so well, as he was informed on Sunday he wouldn’t make the Reds’ 2022 roster.
Today, the team announced his release, with a painful caveat: they will have to eat his entire 2022 salary to get nothing in return.
“The Cincinnati #Reds officially release outfielder Shogo Akiyama, eating the $8M he’s owed in 2022,” MLB insider Bob Nightengale said via Twitter.
The Cincinnati #Reds officially release outfielder Shogo Akiyama, eating the $8M he's owed in 2022.
— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) April 5, 2022
As a hitter, Akiyama has been a disaster for the Reds, and they are finally admitting defeat instead of carrying an unproductive hitter for the entire season.
An Unproductive Hitter In The Majors
In 2020, his first season in the majors, he slashed .245/.357/.297 while playing 53 of the 60 games.
That year, he showed impressive ability to get on base, but non-existent power.
A year later, in 2021, Akiyama was even worse, with a .204/.282/.253 line in 183 plate appearances.
Akiyama was bothered last year by a troublesome hamstring injury, but he recently said it is already in the past.
Shogo Akiyama just reported to camp. He said (via interpreter Luke Shinoda) he’s fully recovered from last year’s hamstring injury.
“I’m going to put last year in the rear view mirror. I have to be that player with a young core that everyone needs. I’m looking forward to it."
— Charlie Goldsmith (@CharlieG__) March 12, 2022
“I’m going to put last year in the rear view mirror. I have to be that player with a young core that everyone needs. I’m looking forward to it,” he said a couple of weeks ago.
But the Reds had other plans.
Akiyama will now be free to sign with the team of his choosing, and that includes in the United States and, perhaps, a return to Japan.
He will get to choose his new destination while making $8 million from the Reds.