For those of you who were complaining that the Cubs hadn’t made any big signings in this year’s free agent frenzy following the lockout, complain no more:
UPDATE: It’s actually a bit more money.
Seiya Suzuki in agreement with Cubs, pending physical, source tells @TheAthletic. Five years, $85M.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) March 16, 2022
Seiya Suzuki is 27 and hit .317/.433/.639 (138-for-435) for the Hiroshima Carp in NPB in 2021 with 38 home runs. He’s an on-base machine; his career OBP in Japan is .402.
Now. It is true that many Japanese players see their numbers drop off when they come to MLB. To date, only three position players have come from NPB to MLB and had long, successful careers: Ichiro Suzuki, Hideki Matsui and, though his career isn’t “long” yet, it would appear headed that way, Shohei Ohtani.
The fact that Suzuki is 27 puts the odds in his favor; his peak years are likely still to come. Even if his career numbers of .309/.402/.541 drop by (say) 10 percent, we’re still looking at a guy who’ll hit .275/.365/.490 in MLB, possibly with as many as 30 home runs per season.
I would guess Suzuki will be slotted in as the Cubs’ center fielder, though he can also play right field and has played third base before, though not since 2014.
Interestingly, the contract figures posted by David Kaplan are exactly the numbers rumored to have been offered to Anthony Rizzo a year ago. This contract is affordable and if Suzuki performs, it’s a bargain.
Good work, Jed and Tom, and welcome to the Cubs, Seiya!
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