Not news that I was expecting or wanting to wake up to this morning, as Japanese outfielder Shogo Akiyama – the dude we’ve been thinking might be a perfect free agent fit for the Cubs – just broke his right foot.
Shogo Akiyama's last waltz in the Premier 12 has come to an end after suffering a fracture in his right foot in Thursday's Samurai Japan game against Canada. https://t.co/vvc6sF0rDf
— Jim Allen (@JballAllen) November 1, 2019
Shogo Akiyama, an international free agent expected to move to @MLB in 2020, suffered a broken bone in his right foot during an exhibition game for @samuraijapan_pr on Thursday. He will be replaced on Japan's @WBSC @Premier12 roster by outfielder Yoshihiro Maru. @MLBNetwork https://t.co/MJTCkMonMa
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) November 1, 2019
If the injury is not serious – some kind of super minor fracture in a super unimportant part of the foot? – then there’s really not much impact here at all.
But if the injury is even remotely a question (it’s a foot injury to a speedy guy who turns 32 early next year … ) the impact could be tremendously significant. If the MLB interest in Akiyama takes a bit of a hit, and teams look to get a bargain price on him now, it’s possible he winds up just re-signing to stay in Japan.
Alternatively, even if he’s signed by an MLB team, there’s now an additional risk associated with the foot injury for a guy who was already going to have a ton of risk baked in as he transitions from NPB to MLB.
The report from Japan indicates that it was fourth phalanges fracture, which would be part of the second-to-smallest toe. It’s conceivable that’s not a big deal (indeed, translated comments from Akiyama kinda sound like that of a guy who was trying to play through something, but decided it would be best for the team if he were replaced). But we won’t really know more until we actually hear something directly from Akiyama, his agent, or those close to the Japanese baseball beat.
For now, it just creates a huge question market about a very intriguing free agent who already had plenty of question marks.