All 30 teams will have a unique opportunity over the next month with the chance to bid on the rights to outfielder Seiya Suzuki. The 27-year-old has been playing for the Hiroshima Toyo Carp for nine seasons. For his career, he has hit .309/.402/.542 (.943) while averaging over 20 home runs per season.
Some of those numbers are deceiving as he saw limited action in his early career. Last season, he hit .319/.436/.640 (1.075) with 38 home runs and 26 doubles. He’s accumulated an OPS of .950 or higher in five of the last six seasons. He won the 2019 Central League batting title with four All-Star selections and three Gold Gloves.
Suzuki is no stranger to the international stage as he represented Japan in the 2017 World Baseball Classic and the 2020 Summer Olympics. During the Olympic Tournament, Suzuki homered off the United States’ Anthony Carter to help Japan rally for a 7-6 victory. In the gold-medal game, he collected two hits to help the host country to a 2-0 win.
Changes were made to the MLB-NPB posting system back in 2017. According to MLB.com, “Under the MLB-NPB transfer agreement, the Carp would receive a release fee equal to 20% of the first $25 million in guaranteed contract value, plus 17.5% of the next $25 million, plus 15% of any amount beyond $50 million.”
Does Suzuki Fit in Minnesota?
Many teams will be interested in adding a right-handed power-hitting outfielder that is just entering the prime of his career. As Nick reviewed Minnesota’s 40-man roster, quite a few corner outfield types are already under team control. These names include Max Kepler, Alex Kirilloff, Trevor Larnach, Brent Rooker, Jake Cave, and Luis Arraez. However, there is no guarantee all of these players will still be on the roster when the season starts.
This winter, Kepler is a prime trade candidate for the Twins, especially as part of a package to acquire more starting pitching. His absence would leave a hole in the outfield and at the plate. Kirilloff should be getting as much time as possible at first base because he is a significant defensive upgrade over Sano. Larnach and Rooker struggled through different portions of the 2021 campaign. Austin Martin, one of Minnesota’s top prospects, may be destined for a corner outfield spot.
For now, the two teams most closely tied to Suzuki seem to be the Texas Rangers and the New York Mets. Texas famously signed Yu Darvish back in 2012, and they need plenty of offensive help. The Mets have a new GM, Billy Eppler, and he has been very successful in signing NPB free agents. He was the GM in Los Angeles when they signed Shohei Ohtani, and he was in New York when they signed Masahiro Tanaka.
Does Suzuki seem like a fit for the Twins? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.
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