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Kevin Youkilis to join Rakuten Golden Eagles in Japan

By Mike Axisa | Baseball Writer

Kevin Youkilis is heading over to NPB.
Kevin Youkilis is heading over to NPB. (USATSI)

MORE: FA tracker: position players | FA tracker: pitchers

Free agent infielder Kevin Youkilis will join the Rakuten Golden Eagles in Japan, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com has confirmed. Heyman also reports the deal is for one year and $4 million, with the chance to earn another $1 million in incentives. Nikkan Sports first reported the deal.

Youkilis, 34, played only 28 games with the Yankees this past season due to back problems. He hit .219 with two home runs and a 78 OPS+. Over the last two seasons, Youkilis has hit .232/.330/.396 (96 OPS+) with 21 homers in 150 games for three different teams.

Rakuten, who is still undecided about whether to post ace Masahiro Tanaka, lost third baseman Casey McGehee to free agency this winter. The former Brewers third baseman returned to the US and signed with the Marlins.

The Yankees reported showed interest in Youkilis earlier this winter, but reports indicated he wanted to be closer to his home on the West Coast. I guess there wasn't as much interest as he and his agent expected.

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