Cubs Rumors: New report has Mariners, Giants as Seiya Suzuki frontrunners

(Photo by Matt Roberts/Getty Images)
(Photo by Matt Roberts/Getty Images) /

Last week, we all got a bit of a surprise when a media report out of Japan included the Cubs on a list of four ‘finalists’ for 27-year-old outfielder Seiya Suzuki, along with the Padres, Mariners and Giants.

Now, a couple U.S.-based reports have that list narrowed down to San Francisco and Seattle. The Boston Globe, specifically, mentions both clubs – while Peter Gammons heard the same thing, but noted the consensus among league GMs is that the Giants have an edge over the Mariners right now.

Both teams have their spring training facilities in Arizona, which is reportedly a factor for the Japanese outfielder. We know the Giants, like the Cubs, have a great deal of financial flexibility this winter, while Seattle is searching for a big bat. Remember, we’ve seen multiple reports connecting the Mariners to former Cubs do-it-all Kris Bryant this winter.

Suzuki is waiting for the lockout to end – like the rest of us – and is coming off a year in which he hit a career-high 38 home runs and slashed .317/.433/.636 in 134 games with the Hiroshima Carp. Seeing two West Coast teams at the top of the pack is hardly a surprise at this stage in the game.

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Circling back to the Cubs, it makes sense why Jed Hoyer would do his due diligence when it comes to Suzuki. The outfield picture for the team is hazy, at best, with no long-term answers firmly entrenched in the mix heading into 2022. Suzuki, again, is just 27 – so his age fits into Chicago’s re-tooling timeline well.

Assuming Ian Happ starts (which seems like a solid assumption given how hot he finished last season), there are two starting spots up for grabs in my mind. Jason Heyward will still see time in right field, but if the team limits his matchups in hopes of helping the veteran rebound, there’s going to be reps available there.

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Left field is anybody’s game right now, with Clint Frazier, Michael Hermosillo, Harold Ramirez and Rafael Ortega all in the mix heading into the spring. Cactus League action (assuming it happens) will go a long way toward clarifying the outfield picture this year. There are also several outfield options left in free agency, although it sounds like Hoyer is focused almost solely on the middle infield and bullpen at this point.