Masataka Yoshida contract details: Red Sox salary & more to know about Japan star’s MLB deal

While Red Sox fans will likely be rooting for Team USA in the World Baseball Classic final, they’ll likely have their eyes on one of Japan’s stars.

Masataka Yoshida has been Japan’s most dominant offensive player throughout the WBC. He’s already set the record for RBIs in a single tournament with 13 driven in — and those have come in just 19 at-bats. Slashing a gaudy .474/.571/.842 during the tourney, Yoshida is giving Sawx fans a tantalizing preview.

Yoshida’s time with Team Japan will soon give way to his time with the Red Sox, with whom he signed a big-time contract at the tail end of 2022. Yoshida will leave behind the Orix Buffaloes and a stellar NPB league career, and for a hefty paycheck. 

Over seven seasons with the Buffaloes, Yoshida slashed .327/.421/.539 with 133 home runs in that span. Boston is hoping to ride the wave of the 29-year-old outfielder to give its offense a boost, as Alex Cora’s lineup will have a much different look in 2023 with the departures of J.D. Martinez and Xander Bogaerts.

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Presumably, Yoshida will slot into the top slot in the lineup, giving Boston a top-tier contact bat in the leadoff spot. That, though, may be something of a bet, considering Yoshida hasn’t faced consistent major-league pitching in his career.

It’s a pretty hefty gamble, but one that could potentially work out for both sides. Here’s what to know about Yoshida’s deal with Boston:

Masataka Yoshida contract details, salary

On Dec. 7, 2022, the Red Sox signed Yoshida to a five-year, $90 million contract. In addition to that, they also paid the Orix Buffaloes a $15.4 million posting fee for the ability to sign Yoshida, which makes the total investment $105.4 million. 

Yoshida received a $3 million signing bonus, which he gets up front, but is still spread for luxury tax purposes over five years of the contract. He gets a lower number in his first year ($15 million) before the number jumps up over the remaining four years.

Here are his annual salary figures, per Spotrac:

Year Salary Signing bonus Yearly cash
2023 $15 million $600,000 $18 million
2024 $18 million $600,000 $18 million
2025 $18 million $600,000 $18 million
2026 $18 million $600,000 $18 million
2027 $18 million $600,000 $18 million

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That contract makes Yoshida the most expensive position player to ever make the jump to MLB. Traditionally, pitchers have translated fairly well — Masahiro Tanaka and Yu Darvish to name two — but position players have had a slightly lower success rate in the majors. 

The Red Sox are hoping that their big gamble will pay off in a big way.

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