Major League Baseball has notified its clubs that Seiya Suzuki, outfielder for the Hiroshima Carp of Nippon Professional Baseball in Japan, will be posted on Monday, per multiple reports. Suzuki will have plenty of suitors in free agency, and the Texas Rangers are closely tied to the right-handed slugger.
Suzuki, 27, slashed .319/.436/.640/1.079 with 38 home runs and 88 RBI in 2021, and has a career .943 OPS over nine seasons with the Carp. The Rangers have a history of pursuing players from the Pacific Rim, so their interest should not come as a surprise. In addition, the Rangers are out to upgrade their offense this winter, and Suzuki could provide some production at a cheaper cost than some of the other free agent outfielders.
There is expected to be a competitive market for Suzuki's services. ESPN's Kiley McDaniel projects Suzuki to ink a four-year, $48 million contract, in addition to a projected $9 million posting fee. That would be a cheaper price tag than some of the better outfield free agents on the market, like Nick Castellanos, Starling Marte and Chris Taylor. In addition, there is no qualifying offer or draft pick forfeiture to worry about if the Rangers were to sign Suzuki, as opposed to Castellanos or Taylor, who rejected qualifying offers.
Of course, there is always concern about how a free agent from overseas will handle the transition to the North American game. Pitchers throw harder in the United States, and a few recent signings from the Pacific Rim have not gone well. However, Suzuki struck out only 16.2 percent of the time in 2021 (MLB average was 23.2 percent), and he walked 87 times as opposed to striking out 86 times.
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There is still a calculated risk, but the Rangers are surely doing their due diligence in an area where they have scouted very well over the years.
Suzuki will have 30 days to negotiate a contract with a Major League club, giving him until 5:00 p.m. EST on Dec. 22. However, an expected lockout would not shorten that window. If Suzuki does not sign with a club by Dec. 1 and the owners lock out the players the following day, Suzuki's signing period will be frozen, then re-open once a new Collective Bargaining Agreement is signed.
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