The Cincinnati Reds have announced that they have officially released outfielder Shogo Akiyama. Several days ago the team informed Akiyama that he was not going to make the opening day roster. He had a clause in his contract that he could refuse an assignment to the minor leagues and he was going to take time to determine if he would accept an assignment to the minors or if he would go in a different direction. It would seem that a different direction was the choice that he made. Cincinnati will still owe him his $8,000,000 salary for 2022.
The stay in Cincinnati could not have gone worse for Shogo Akiyama. In his first big league season he was introduced to Major League Baseball during a worldwide pandemic that led to two different versions of spring training and then empty ballparks once the season did begin. He hit .196 in the first 31 games of the year, but rebounded well by hitting .318 in September over a 23 game stretch to finish the year.
In the 2021 season the outfielder experienced a terrifying personal situation in which his wife was hospitalized after a tree fell on her while she was walking in the park. On top of that he continued to struggle at the plate. During the season he failed to put up an OPS of .600 in a single month with the exception of September when he managed all of nine plate appearances.
After hitting 25, 24, and 20 home runs in his final three seasons while playing for Seibu in Japan, Shogo Akiyama showed absolutely no power in his big league career. Over 364 plate appearances he slugged .274 without a home run to his name. He managed to hit just 14 doubles and one triple, while posting a .224/.320/.274 triple-slash line.
The outfielder will be 34-years-old in less than two weeks. Where his future lies isn’t yet known, but given his struggles in Major League Baseball it seems like the best move would be returning to Japan to resume his career.
Andrew Knapp also released
An hour prior to the release of Akiyama, the Cincinnati Reds also released catcher Andrew Knapp.