As of Monday, Japanese outfielder Seiya Suzuki has been posted and made available to sign with Major League baseball teams.
Seiya Suzuki, a 27-year old outfielder, now has 30 days to sign a contract. If no agreement is made, he can’t sign in the MLB until next season. But, many expect this offseason to be the moment for him. Especially, coming off a career-best 38 homers and a 1.079 OPS over131 games in the 2021 season with Hiroshima Toyo Carp.
Suzuki began to emerge onto the scene in the United States when he represented Japan in the 2017 World Baseball Classic. Not to mention, he also won the 2019 Central League batting title, five-time All-Star, and a three-time Gold Glove winner. Essentially, he can do it all. As a right handed hitter that can drive the ball with precision in both average and power, teams will be flocking to sign this rising star.
Thus far, MLB.com’s Jon Paul Morosi, says the Texas Rangers and New York Mets are among the top teams that could pursue Suzuki during this period.
Since there will be a lot of potential suitors, let’s think about five of the best possible destinations for him.
A desperate team, in desperate need of a star. In particular, they have a huge need for right-handed power. While the Rangers have a history of signing Japanese players (Yu Darvish and Kohei Arihara), there’s always that hesitancy. But, the Rangers need offense and especially power.
Last season, the Rangers ranked 26th in home runs and hits while ranking 28th in RBI. Currently, the Rangers do have all-star Adolis García in centerfield but need help in the corner outfield. Suzuki instantly fills a huge need for the Rangers, while simultaneously bringing some excitement back to Globe Life Field.
New York Mets
The Mets didn’t come close to meeting expectations for the 2021 season. In fact, ESPN projected the Mets to finish with a 91-71 record. There was so much riding on Noah Syndergaard’s health, and the thought that Francisco Lindor, Pete Alonso, Jeff McNeil, Michael Conforto, and Dom Smith would be enough support at the plate for Jacob deGrom.
Basically, the rotation couldn’t stay healthy, and the team lacked power at the plate. With that, the Mets finished with a 77-85 record. Two combinations that will quickly lead to disaster for a baseball team. Similar to the Rangers, the Mets finished 25th in home runs and 27th in RBI.
The outfield is an extreme weakness for the Mets and signing Suzuki would be a perfect fit for him. It puts the pressure of playing in New York on Suzuki, but with his potential — if anybody is up to the challenge it’s him.
I’m actually surprised this team hasn’t been brought up for the pursuit of Suzuki.
Overall, they’re currently a better team than the Rangers. As the youngest team in all of baseball, they could use someone with a little experience playing at a high level professionally. It may not have been in the States, but he’s played and has proven he’s a winner whether it’s in the Olympics or the NPB.
Currently, the Marlins outfielders are Jesús Sánchez, Bryan De La Cruz, and Lewis Brinson. Combined they finished the 2021 season with 28 home runs. While they may be quality prospects for the future, they likely will not possess the threat at the plate like Suzuki will. As a team, the Marlins finished 28th in home runs and 29th in RBI. With financial flexibility, don’t sleep on the Marlins when it comes to sneaking in on the Suzuki sweepstakes.
While I personally am uncertain whether this is a perfect fit or not, but it does at least make some sense. Before you roll your eyes — no, it’s not because his name is Suzuki.
In fact, that’s part of the reason I have some doubts about this. Could you imagine the pressure he will likely face? Who knows, that could also be motivation for him to continue a legacy in Seattle.
While the 2021 season was an unprecedented success for the Mariners, they still missed the postseason. Their pitching was their strength, ranking 16th in team E.R.A. While guys like Kyle Seager and Mitch Haniger had an adequate season, the Mariners could still use some pop at the plate. They still ranked dead last in hits and 21st in RBI. Not only does the addition of Suzuki likely put them into the postseason, but they’re also instantly a threat in the American League.
The Atlanta Braves just won the World Series — what’s next? They want to keep this train rolling and have every bit of a chance at creating a dynasty.
One of the players that Suzuki draws the most comparisons to is current Braves’ outfielder Ronald Acuña Jr. Why not have two of them? No offense to left fielder Adam Duvall, but being a few years younger and having more upside Suzuki is an upgrade. If they’re not already the favorite going into the 2022 season, signing Suzuki would definitely do just that.
It could be days, it could be weeks, but I believe we will see Suzuki sign with a MLB team this off-season. Too many teams could use his power at the plate. Although, whoever signs him will need a significant amount of money. ESPN’s Kiley McDaniel projects a potential contract for Suzuki will be approximately 4 years, worth $48 million. Not to mention, whoever signs Suzuki will also have to pay a posting fee to the Carp. Regardless, it’ll be very exhilarating to see where he ends up.