Mariners Free Agency Targets: Could Seattle sign Masataka Yoshida?
The Mariners have scouted Japanese left fielder Masataka Yoshida and are expected to be one of his top potential suitors according to MLB Network’s Jon Morosi. A two-time batting champion, Yoshida plays for the Orix Buffaloes and would need to be posted for him to sign with an MLB team.
Yoshida is limited to left field due to his below-average arm and has average to below-average range as a defender. His swing is short and compact for his size at 5’8. He has a .326 career batting average along with a .957 OPS. Yoshida’s bat is what impresses scouts the most when they observe him. Not only does he hit for average, but he also has the ability to hit for power. Last season he had 50 extra-base hits 21 of which were home runs in just 121 games.
Masataka Yoshida could be a good fit for the Mariners in LF
Reports surfaced last week the Mariners are not content with the outfielders they currently have on the roster. As the front office stated they were looking to sign one or two corner outfielders. With Julio locking down center field for the next decade, there is some leeway for the Mariners to bring in outfielders who are known more for their bat than their glove.
They also have utility players such as Sam Haggerty and Dylan Moore who can go into the game as defensive replacements if necessary at the end of games.
Seiya Suzuki was two years younger, 27 years old compared to Yoshida’s 29 years when he signed with the Cubs last season. He got 5YR/$85 million as a reference for Yoshida. He’s likely to get a little less than Suzuki, but it could easily ramp up to something similar if the market dictates and enough teams go after him.
Yoshida would certainly add depth to a lineup that struggled to put men on base this past season. The question is how much his game will translate to MLB and if he is posted this off-season. Seattle scouting Yoshida should come as no surprise since they likely are not going to re-sign Mitch Haniger and are looking for other options at the corner outfield positions.
Beyond Aaron Judge, the outfield free agent market is very thin this year. Other names include Michael Brantley, Andrew Benintendi, Brandon Nimmo, and Joc Pederson. This means the Mariners could look to sign Masataka Yoshida if they want to go beyond the current free agent market.