Last week you could read here that Wladimir Balentien was likely to return to the Yakult Swallows. Today, Yahoo.com confirmed the 33-year old Curaçaoan slugger signed a one-year deal with the other team from Tokyo.
According to Yahoo.com, both parties reached an agreement yesterday. By signing a $3 million deal, Balentien agrees with a deduction of a quarter of a million dollars.
After an impressive performance during the World Baseball Classic with team Kingdom of the Netherlands, in which he had the highest batting average of those with 15 at-bats or more (.667), led the tournament with four home runs and twelve RBI and sixteen hits, Balentien played a decent season despite missing a part due to a pulled hamstring. In 125 games he hit .254 with 32 home runs, the highest total of dingers since his record-setting 2013 season in which he drove 60 out of the ballparks, breaking the record of 55 home runs in a season, set by legend Sadaharu Oh. Next to his 32 home runs, Balentien led the team with 80 runs batted in.
Fun fact about the contract extension is that both parties did not need long to strike a deal, while last year, the Swallows stated that Balentien was injury prone and a defensive liability before signing him to a one-year contract.
2018 will be Balentien’s eighth season in Japan’s NPB.