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Former Reds Infielder Signs with NPB’s Yokohama DeNA BayStars

First baseman Mike Ford elected free agency rather than accept an outright assignment with the Cincinnati Reds in late May. Ford has since signed a contract with the Yokohama DeNA BayStars of Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball, the team has announced. Ford, 32, signed with the New York Yankees as an undrafted free agent in 2013. The left-handed batter made his MLB debut for the Yankees six years later, making quite the impression in his rookie campaign. The following season, Ford made his very first Opening Day roster.

Mike Ford Signs with Japanese Club

Since his debut in 2019, Ford struggled to replicate his success throughout his tenure with New York. Ford hit a dismal .134/.250/.276 across 51 games in 2020 and 2021. That ultimately made the Yankees designate him for assignment in June 2021. Ford moved around the league between the Tampa Bay Rays, Washington Nationals, Seattle Mariners, San Francisco Giants, Atlanta Braves and Los Angeles Angels. Four years after his breakout, Ford rediscovered his game and put together the best season of his career.

Ford marched his way to the majors with 13 home runs and a 1.031 OPS in 49 games at Triple-A, then hit 16 home runs with a .798 OPS in 84 games for the Mariners from June to October. His 32.3 percent strikeout rate was on the high side but drew walks at a 9.6 percent rate. Despite the bounce-back performance in 2023, Seattle parted ways with the infielder at the end of the season. He signed a minor league deal with the Reds in February, opted out in March, re-signed a week later, then opted out a second time. However, Ford put up strong numbers with a .455/.486/.727 line in spring training and hit .297/.381/.538 in Triple-A. Even though he signed a major league deal, Ford was 9-for-60 with a .411 OPS in 18 games.

Before signing with NPB, he had been a free agent since then.

Main Photo: © Robert Edwards-USA TODAY Sports


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