The Saitama Seibu Lions got their work cut out for them and they got something done for next year. They announced they've reached agreement with Ernesto Mejia for a three year extension on Tuesday.
Mejia, who will turn 31 in December, has been the home run leader on the Lions this season and initially won Pacific League Player of the month for April. He is currently second in the Pacific League in home runs and has been instrumental after having a down season in 2015.
In 2014, Mejia was tied for the Pacific League home run king title with Takeya "Okawari-kun" Nakamura as a midseason signing. If the Lions give Okawari-kun a paycut based on a disappointing 2016 season, Mejia could be the highest paid player on the team in 2017.
Mejia is currently back in the USA with his wife they are expecting their first child, but it's clear both sides got something done before he left. The Lions released the following statement from Mejia:
"First of all, here in Japan I've loved the chance to play baseball, and I am grateful to the Lions who believe me. I couldn't be more happy. I love the Lions, all of our fans who come to support me in the last few years, the director and coaching staff. I would like to thank all of the people involved as well as my teammates and the Lions. I will continue to do my best for myself and the team. Thank you very much."
We mentioned this briefly on a Lions OenDEN podcast episode, expecting Mejia to be paid soon. The Lions have been open about wanting to extend him as early as April. Even after a down season in 2015, they gave him a raise for this year. Most importantly, the Lions backed up their talk and got it done.
There will be plenty of contracts to negotiate this offseason for every player and possibly free agents could walk. If anything, this gets one thing done ahead of time without worry.
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