September 26, 2021

Cubs, Diamondbacks Have Interest In Shogo Akiyama (MLB Trade Rumors)

The Cubs have free-agent center fielder Shogo Akiyama “on their radar,” reports Patrick Mooney of The Athletic (subscription required), and Diamondbacks general manager Mike Hazen acknowledged his own club’s interest in the 31-year-old at this week’s GM Meetings (link via Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Repbulic).

Akiyama, a longtime Seibu Lions star, is hoping to make the jump to Major League Baseball this offseason. Unlike countryman Yoshitomo Tsutsugo, who was posted by the Yokohama BayStars earlier today, Akiyama has nine years of service time, making him a true free agent who isn’t subject to the MLB-NPB posting system.

Akiyama has topped 20 homers in each of the past three seasons and swiped 15-plus bags in each of the past five years. In all, since the 2015 season, he’s a .320/.398/.497 hitter. He’ll turn 32 next April, so in addition to the standard questions on the extent to which a player’s output in NPB can be approximated in MLB, Akiyama will also deal with teams…

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