YOKOHAMA, JAPAN - AUGUST 07: Outfielder Masataka Yoshida #34 of Team Japan at bat an infield single in the fourth inning against Team United States during the gold medal game between Team United States and Team Japan on day fifteen of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Yokohama Baseball Stadium on August 07, 2021 in Yokohama, Kanagawa, Japan.

Even though the Phillies season just ended in disappointing fashion with a game 6 World Series loss, we do not get much time to mourn. Free Agency starts later this week. And by all accounts, it could be a busy one for the Phillies. They have been heavily attached to players like Trae Turner, and Carlos Rodon. But there is one player who is not even in the MLB yet, who the Phillies need to be looking at. Enter Masataka Yoshida.

It is a name many Americans may not be familiar with yet. But they could be very soon. The Japanese outfielder has expressed his intentions to make the move to the United States to play in the MLB. His current team the Orix Buffalos will have to agree to post him, but early indications are that they are open to doing so. Leaving Masataka Yoshida free to sign with one of the 30 MLB teams. And we know there is one team that he prefers over the others, our Philadelphia Phillies.

Masataka Yoshida is a big Bryce Harper fan. The 29-year-old even named his dog Harper. There are indications that his first choice is to play with the guy he idolizes, and the Phillies should want him too. Yoshida is first and foremost an on-base machine. His career on-base percentage is .419. And he has some pop to go with that patience at the plate. He hit 20+ hrs in 5 of his last 6 seasons. And his career slugging percentage is .538. The talent is certainly there, and we have seen recently that the transition to the MLB from Japan can be had with great success.

There are some obstacles to him ending up in red pinstripes. To start, he is a corner outfielder. And the Phillies are a bit crowded in the corner outfield right now. They already have Bryce Harper, Kyle Schwarber, and Nick Castellanos. One of those 3 will have to DH and the other two play in the field. So someone would have to move. The Phillies could try to move Castellanos, but it may be hard to find suitors after the season he had. And you aren’t moving either of the other two.

More likely, it would have to be one of them moving to first base, and Rhys Hoskins being traded. That would open it up for one of the 3 corner outfielders to play first base, and create a spot for Masataka Yoshida to play in the outfield. The Phillies may be planning on moving on from Rhys anyway. It is his last year of arbitration, and rumors have swirled all season that it could be his last year.

The other issue is that Yoshida has to through the posting process. And how posting works is MLB teams will offer bids to his current team, for the right to negotiate a deal. It used to be that only the highest bidder had that chance to negotiate, but the rules have been tweaked. Now any team willing to pay the max bid will have the right to try and negotiate a deal. If it is true that Yoshida prefers to play in Philly, that new rule could be beneficial to their chances. But they will still have to compete with other interested teams.

But it seems worth it to overcome those obstacles. Yoshida has the chance to be a fantastic player, and someone who can grind out at-bats, get on base and show some pop, is what this team needs. he barely strikes out. Meanwhile, this team just set a strikeout record in the World Series. If he wants to come here, the Phillies have to at least do the homework on him to see if they can make it work. There is nothing to lose. If you don’t sign him, you don’t have to actually pay the bid you offered to his team. There is nothing to lose by being in on his posting process. Make the bid, bring him and see if you can get it done. Worst case you do, and you lose nothing.

We saw vs the Astros this lineup needs some manner of tweaking, they can’t continue to live or die by the long ball. And if Masataka Yoshida is half the player he was in Japan, he is the on-base, hitting machine that could round out this lineup.