Free-agent outfielder Norichika Aoki has reportedly found a new home for 2015. 

John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle first reported the news:

CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman confirmed Shea’s report with more detail:

Aoki has become a valuable asset during his three-year stint in Major League Baseball. The 33-year-old came to America in 2012, signing with the Milwaukee Brewers after spending six years with the Yakult Swallows in Japan’s Nippon Professional League. 

Since 2012, Aoki has amassed a career slash line of .287/.353/.387 with 67 stolen bases, 144 strikeouts and 141 walks in 1,608 plate appearances, per His ability to make contact and get on base is as good as anyone in the league. 

In fact, over the last three years, Aoki has the third-lowest strikeout percentage among qualified hitters behind Marco Scutaro and Victor Martinez. His .353 on-base percentage is tied for 40th, ahead of Bryce Harper (.351) and Justin Upton (.350). 

In terms of Aoki‘s role, Andy McCullough of The Kansas City Star reported the veteran outfielder wasn’t always happy to be taken out of games last season for a defensive replacement:

Aoki didn’t grade out as a below-average defensive player until moving to spacious Kauffman Stadium, costing the Royals eight runs by FanGraphs‘ metrics. He was credited with saving 18 runs in two years with Milwaukee using the same metrics. 

While there are limitations to Aoki‘s name, mostly being a corner outfielder with no power, he’s still a valuable talent who can hit at the top of a lineup thanks to his ability to get on base and steal bases.

Given how difficult it is to find power at any position, teams have to get creative to find offense. Aoki offers that in his own unique way, as well as some defensive chops to back it up. 


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