Japan’s latest big-league export is about to become one step closer to making his MLB debut, according to MLB Trade Rumors.
Star Nippon Professional Baseball outfielder Seiya Suzuki is set to travel to the United States in preparation for face-to-face negotiations with Major League teams once the lockout is lifted, per a report from Japan’s Nikkan Sports.
MLB Trade Rumors reports “Suzuki and agent Joel Wolfe of Wasserman have already conducted virtual meetings with at least eight clubs” with the hopes of signing on the dotted line following the MLB lockout.
Nikkan’s report suggests that the Padres, Cubs, Mariners and Giants are “expected” to be among the finalists for Suzuki once negotiations resume. … The Red Sox, Yankees and Blue Jays — each of whom hosts Spring Training in Florida — have all been linked to Suzuki as well, however, and Yahoo Japan suggests the Red Sox could be an early favorite.
The 27-year-old outfielder hit .309 with 189 homers, 621 RBI and a .943 OPS in 1,055 games in Nippon Professional Baseball. Suzuki was a five-time winner of the NPB’s version of the Gold Glove award, and was a five-time All-Star. In 2021, he hit .317 with 38 homers, 88 RBI and a 1.069 OPS.
The New York Yankees could be in the market for center field help. The problem: Suzuki has primarily played right field (the current and future home of Aaron Judge), though some believe he has the athleticism to play center.
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(NJ Advance Media’s Brendan Kuty contributed to this report.)
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Mike Rosenstein may be reached at [email protected].