Reds release Shogo Akiyama with one year left on deal

The Cincinnati Reds announced Tuesday they have released Japanese outfielder Shogo Akiyama, who was informed over the weekend that he was not going to make the Reds’ Opening Day roster.

Akiyama signed a three-year, $21 million deal ahead of the 2020 season. The Reds did not have the ability to option Akiyama to the minor leagues without his consent, and will still owe him his $8 million for 2022.

The 33-year-old becomes a free agent and can sign with any other MLB team or return to play in Japan.

“I am very thankful for the precious time I have spent with all the players and staff I had the fortune to cross paths with in Cincinnati. I will be looking forward to seeing everyone again soon as I prepare my next opportunity,” he said via the Reds’ Japanese-language Twitter account.

Akiyama appeared in 142 games for the Reds in 2020 and 2021, batting .224 with no home runs and 21 RBIs. He has hit just .182 in 22 at-bats this spring.

Akiyama’s jump from Nippon Professional Baseball to MLB during the 2020 season was made more difficult by the shortened schedule and pandemic protocols.

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