MLB Rumors: Japanese OF Seiya Suzuki Expected to Be Pursued by Yankees, Dodgers, More

Tyler Conway@@jtylerconwayFeatured Columnist IVJanuary 13, 2022

YOKOHAMA, JAPAN - AUGUST 07: Outfielder Seiya Suzuki #51 of Team Japan hits a single in the sixth inning against Team United States during the gold medal game between Team United States and Team Japan on day fifteen of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Yokohama Baseball Stadium on August 07, 2021 in Yokohama, Kanagawa, Japan. (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)
Steph Chambers/Getty Images

Japanese outfielder Seiya Suzuki is expected to be pursued by 10-12 MLB teams once the lockout concludes.

Andrew Baggarly of The Athletic reported Suzuki has met with around a dozen teams via Zoom, with the New York Yankees, Seattle Mariners, Boston Red Sox, Los Angeles Dodgers, Tampa Bay Rays, San Diego Padres, Toronto Blue Jays and San Francisco Giants among the known suitors.

Suzuki was posted by his Japanese club, the Hiroshima Toyo Carp, in November. He's expected to draw one of the highest contracts for a Japanese player coming to the States in MLB history. 

One estimate has Suzuki commanding a five-year contract worth around $60 million. 

The 27-year-old is a five-time Nippon Professional Baseball All-Star and five-time Central League Golden Glove winner since joining the Carp in 2013. He won the Central League batting title in 2019 and is coming off a 2021 campaign in which he hit .317/.433/.636 with a career-high 38 home runs and 88 runs batted in.

While the power may not translate perfectly to MLB, Suzuki is an excellent hitter with a keen eye at the plate and defensive range who could top 20 home runs on a regular basis. He should plug in immediately as an everyday player wherever he lands, though there has been no indication of where he is leaning. 

No MLB team can sign Suzuki or conduct any other business until the lockout ends.