NPB’s Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters Sign Andrew Stevenson

NPB’s Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters Sign Andrew Stevenson

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12:50pm: Darren Wolfson of Skor North relayed the financials. Stevenson will be guarantee $850K with a club option that could make it $2.4MM over two years.

12:32pm: The Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters of Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball have signed outfielder Andrew Stevenson, reports Jon Heyman of The New York Post.

Stevenson, 30 in June, has 273 games of major league experience. Most of that was with the Nationals, though he was in the Twins’ organization in 2023. Broadly speaking, he has served as a glove-first outfielder in that time. He has eight home runs in 489 plate appearances, batting .243/.316/.352 overall for a wRC+ of 80. His glovework has resulted in four Defensive Runs Saved, three Outs Above Average and a grade of 4.8 from Ultimate Zone Rating.

He signed a minor league deal with the Twins back in March and was added to the roster in September. He had performed very well in Triple-A, hitting .317/.394/.522 while stealing 44 bases. He played 25 major league games down the stretch but hit just .189/.250/.216 in those, though he did swipe another four bags. He was outrighted by the Twins and elected free agency in October.

Despite his speed-and-defense, Stevenson has struggled to hold onto a big league roster spot in recent years, both due to his lack of hitting in the majors and because he burned his final option year in 2021. He didn’t get to the big leagues at all in 2022 and was just a September call-up in the most recent campaign.

Had he stayed in North America for 2024, he likely would have had to settle for another minor league deal. But by heading overseas, he will lock in a nice guarantee for himself. The financials of this deal aren’t publicly known but guys who move from MLB to NPB generally get paid a salary close to the MLB minimum. If he succeeds for the Fighters, that could perhaps lead to some more earnings in Japan and/or a return to North America down the line.



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