Matsui signs a five-year MLB deal with the Padres

Yuki Matsui, a three-time season saves leader in Japan’s Pacific League, has signed a five-year Major League Baseball contract with the San Diego Padres, it was announced on Saturday, Dec. 23.

The 28-year-old Japanese left-hander has spent the last decade in Nippon Professional Baseball, where he has accumulated 236 saves in 501 career appearances for the Tohuku Rakuten Golden Eagles.

Matsui, a five-time All-Star, has a career earned-run average of 2.40 in Japan, along with 860 strikeouts, and led in saves in 2019 and the past two seasons.

Although the terms of the contract were not revealed, it was reportedly worth $28 million with opt outs after the 2026 and 2027 seasons.

Matsui, who also pitched for this year’s Japan championship team in the World Baseball Classic, had a 1.57 ERA this season with a career-best 39 saves and 72 strikeouts over 59 games.

This move comes as the Padres have been emphasizing pitching in the off-season, following a blockbuster trade deal with the New York Yankees for slugger Juan Soto.

The Padres’ signing of Matsui comes just two days after reports surfaced that the Los Angeles Dodgers, a National League West division rival of the Padres, had agreed to a 12-year deal worth $325 million with Japanese ace pitcher Yoshinobu Yamamoto.

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