The Nippon Professional Baseball league in Japan is home to some of the best players on the planet. The Orix Buffaloes, this year’s NPB champions, face a tough roster decision days after winning the league championship.
According to the Japan Times, the Buffaloes could allow superstar Masataka Yoshida to play in the majors, which the 29-year-old left fielder wants. Reports from Sports Illustrated suggest Yoshida wants to sign with the Phillies. He idolizes Philadelphia star Bryce Harper.
Over a seven-year career for the Buffaloes, Yoshida had 135 home runs, 474 RBIs and a .307 batting average. What’s more striking is that he has more walks (427) than strikeouts (307) in 781 games.
There’s no guarantee the Buffaloes would even allow Yoshida to test the waters on a potential transfer to the United States. He technically hasn’t played long enough to earn full free agency, so his club should agree to post him. The move would give the Buffaloes a big payday based on a contract Yoshida would sign in the United States.
If Yoshida was posted, he would have 30 days to negotiate with MLB teams. If no deal is reached, he would return to the Buffaloes and then not be re-eligible for a position until the end of the 2024 season.
If you look hard enough, there is a fit for the Phillies for Yoshida, but it might not be ideal for Philadelphia.
Yoshida is limited defensively to left field. Harper locked out right field, which leaves Kyle Schwarber and Nick Castellanos, who are both limited to left field and DH, expected to move.
Should Yoshida join the Phillies, it’s possible that Harper will move to the center with Castellanos to the right. Otherwise, one of the Schwarbers or Castellanos could play first base.
If a player of Yoshida’s caliber expresses interest in joining your club, you make it work.