With free agency gathering an incredible amount of steam over the past 24 hours, it’s no wonder the rumor mill is circulating into a whirlwind. With so many key free agents still without a team on the market, the Cubs have found themselves connected to at least one other big fish not named Carlos Correa in Japanese superstar outfielder Seiya Suzuki.
During the lockout, it was reported Suzuki was still 100 percent committed to making the jump to Major League Baseball in 2022. His patience has paid off – as his market seems to have emerged in the form of five teams: the Seattle Mariners, San Francisco Giants, LA Dodgers, Boston Red Sox and Cubs.
All five teams have the means of contending as soon as this year if they choose to do so. The smallest-market teams of the group, the Mariners, would have made the postseason last year with the new 12-team postseason format and they certainly don’t expect to fall out of the race of contention any time soon.
As for Suzuki, he has a career slash of .315/.414/.570 with 182 home runs and 562 RBI over the course of a nine-year career. Though reports in the past have indicated Seattle may be looking to land both Suzuki and Kris Bryant this winter, at this stage in the game it is encouraging to see the Cubs still in the thick of things. Surely, with a higher CBT threshold moving forward, the Cubs are still more than $100 million away from the luxury tax threshold and have the funds available to do just about whatever they want right now.
Cubs hanging in there for superstar outfielder Seiya Suzuki
A month ago, it looked like it was going to be down to San Francisco and Seattle. With the plentiful resources the Cubs now have after dismantling their core last season, they have the ability to induce power moves and up the ante on teams to land more than one superstar before Opening Day. Suzuki is a great place to start. He brings outfield depth and killer instincts at the plate that have won him several awards and accolades throughout his career in the NPB. He is a four-time All-Star, five-time NPB Best Nine Award winner and three-time Gold Glove winner.
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If I were Jed Hoyer, I would be moving swiftly before the big names are gone. There is absolutely no reason they cannot complete this year. A Suzuki signing would be a major boost to a questionable outfield mix – and help the team get back to October baseball sooner rather than later.