The Cincinnati Reds outfield was a mess in 2022. And they have questions all over the place in the outfield for 2023 as things stand right now. One player that won’t be there, though, is Aristides Aquino. After being non-tendered earlier this month he became a free agent. And now the outfielder is heading to Japan.
Hector Gomez of Z101 Digital in the Dominican Republic reported that Aquino signed with the Chunichi Dragons of the NPB in Japan for $1,200,000 on a 1-year deal and he gets a signing bonus of $300,000.
Aquino burst onto the scene in August of 2019. The then 24-year-old hit 14 home runs in 29 games during the month, posting a .320/.391/.767 line.
Along the way he set several records for the quickest to X-number of home runs to begin a career as he just went on an absolute tear. But things slowed down in September as he hit just five home runs to go with a .619 OPS.
After such a hot start, Aquino never really got his bat going again. In 2020 he managed just 56 plate appearances and hit .170. In the 2021 season he barely saw action in the first half of the season. During the second half he saw time in 60 games, getting 152 plate appearances but put up a .629 OPS in that stretch. 2022 was similar as he didn’t get much action on the field in the first half of the season, but in August and September he got into 49 games, but hit just .209 with a .653 OPS.
In his 5-year career with the Reds, Aquino hit 41 home runs in 762 plate appearances. Only in 2019 did he finish the year with an average over the .200 mark (.259). Overall he hit .211/.285/.434. While he had always been a solid defender, in 2022 he really took advantage of the opposition’s poor baserunning decisions when they chose to test his arm. Despite playing in just 78 games in the field, and only 70 of those being starts, he had 12 assists. He entered the season with four in his career. For whatever reason teams began to try and test his arm this season and it went about as poorly for them as one could imagine. Aquino’s always had a big time arm, so it’s not a situation where opponents simply didn’t know.