Seiya Suzuki rumors: Several teams believe Red Sox ‘are lined up to make a move on Japanese outfielder’ when lockout ends (report)

Even in the midst of an ongoing lockout, the Red Sox still appear to be interested in Japanese outfielder Seiya Suzuki.

The Sox have been linked to Suzuki since he was posted by the Hiroshima Carp of Nippon Professional Baseball in November and remain locked in on the star free-agent nearly three months later, according to The Boston Globe’s Pete Abraham.

“Several teams believe the Sox are lined up to make a move on Japanese outfielder Seiya Suzuki when the lockout finally ends,” Abraham wrote on Saturday. “Suzuki is committed to playing in the majors, having decided not to remain with the Hiroshima Carp.”

Suzuki, 27, has spent the last nine seasons with Hiroshima. Most recently, the right-handed hitter batted .317/.433/.636 with 26 doubles, 38 home runs, 88 RBIs, 77 runs scored, nine stolen bases, 87 walks, and 88 walks over 132 games (533 plate appearances) for the Carp in 2021.

The Carp officially posted Suzuki on Nov. 22, giving MLB teams a little more than a week to negotiate with the four-time NPB All-Star before the lockout began on December 2. Since that time, Suzuki’s posting window has been paused, but it will pick up once the work stoppage ends, meaning clubs will have roughly three weeks to continue negotiating with his camp.

Despite the lengthy lockout, Suzuki — as Abraham mentioned — remains committed to playing in the major-leagues even though he could return to Japan for the 2022 season and test the free-agency waters again next winter.

Last month, Japan’s Nikkan Sports reported that Suzuki was planning to travel to the United States once the lockout is lifted to negotiate with interested teams in-person. That same report suggested that Suzuki was preparing to narrow down his list of suitors to three or four, noting that clubs with spring training facilities in Arizona may hold a geographical advantage over clubs with complexes in Florida (like the Red Sox).

A few weeks before that report came out, Suzuki himself told The Athletic’s Andrew Baggarly that he has heard recruiting pitches from 10 to 12 teams and the Sox are among that group. He would not reveal his personal short list, though he did indicate that he had no preference for which league or coast he played on.

“I can’t stop thinking about which team to pick,” Suzuki said. “I’m going to be honest with you: I’m still very confused. I can’t sleep every night because a lot of the teams hit my heart. I still have to give it a lot of thought.”

Shortly before the lockout began, the Red Sox put themselves in a position where they could benefit from Suzuki’s services when they traded Hunter Renfroe to the Brewers for fellow outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr. and a pair of prospects.

By effectively swapping Renfroe for Bradley Jr., Boston shook up their outfield mix significantly in that they traded offensive production for defensive production. That being said, they also traded away a right-handed hitting outfielder for another left-handed hitting outfielder to join the likes of Jarren Duran and Alex Verdugo on the 40-man roster.

Since he possesses pop from the right side of the plate, Suzuki could in theory fill the void left behind by Renfroe and emerge as the Sox’ everyday right fielder. Going back to what chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom said earlier this winter, the 27-year-old does fit the profile of a right-handed hitter the club might prefer to sign over a left-handed hitter.

Suzuki, who does not turn 28 until August, is about 2 1/2 years younger than Renfroe, who turned 30 last month. The former has drawn comparisons to the latter and may have an even stronger defensive profile seeing how he is a five-time recipient of the Mitsui Golden Glove Award.

Listed at 5-foot-11 and 182 pounds, Suzuki is “expected to command a contract in the range of five years and $60 million,” per Baggarly. This does not take into account the compensation Suzuki’s new team would owe Hiroshima in the form of a release fee.

As things stand now, it appears as though the Red Sox have as good a chance as any club to land Suzuki once the lockout eventually ends. With some help from former Boston closer Koji Uehara, it just might happen.

(Picture of Seiya Suzuki: Koji Watanabe/Getty Images)

Red Sox’ Ryan Brasier on former teammate Seiya Suzuki: ‘He’s a stud’

Before making a name for himself with the Red Sox in 2018, veteran reliever Ryan Brasier spent the 2017 season in Japan, pitching for the Hiroshima Carp of Nippon Professional Baseball.

In the process of posting a 2.34 ERA across 45 relief appearances (50 innings pitched) for the Carp, Brasier had the opportunity to make acquaintances with one of his teammates at the time in outfielder Seiya Suzuki.

Suzuki, then just in his age-22 season, slashed .300/.389/.547 with with 28 doubles, one triple, 26 home runs, 90 RBIs, 85 runs scored, 16 stolen bases, 62 walks, and 80 strikeouts over 115 games and 512 plate appearances with Hiroshima.

“The first time I saw him you could tell the ball came off his bat different,” Brasier said of Suzuki when speaking with WEEI’s Rob Bradford recently. “Throwing the ball from the outfield. … He’s just a hell of a player.”

Brasier also described Suzuki as “a stud” and as Hiroshima’s best hitter in 2017. The right-hander is currently preparing for his fifth season with Boston, and it seems as though he would not mind being teammates with Suzuki once again.

The Red Sox have been heavily linked to Suzuki since the Japanese-born star was officially posted by Hiroshima last month. He is coming off a 2021 campaign in which he batted .317/.433/.639 with 26 doubles, 38 home runs, 88 RBIs, 77 runs scored, nine stolen bases, 88 walks, and 89 strikeouts over 134 games (538 plate appearances) for the Carp.

Under normal circumstances, Suzuki, now 27, would only have until December 22 to sign with a major-league club. However, due to the lockout, the right-handed hitter will have approximately three weeks to negotiate with teams once Major League Baseball’s work stoppage comes to a close.

After trading Hunter Renfroe to the Brewers for Jackie Bradley Jr. and a pair of prospects last week, the Red Sox suddenly find themselves in need of a right-handed hitting outfielder.

Not only does Suzuki fit that bill, but the the 5-foot-11, 182 pounder is also an exceptional defender, as evidenced by his five Mitsui Golden Glove Awards. The fact that he hits for power from the right side of the plate and is a quality right fielder has actually led some, including Brasier, to compare him to Renfroe.

“Honestly, he kind of reminds me of Renfroe,” said Brasier. “He might be a little faster, and he might have a little better plate presence. But as far as a player with size and power and defense, he reminds me of Renfroe a little bit.”

Based off the level of interest, Suzuki is clearly one of the more coveted free agents in this winter’s class. His market could heat up on the other side of this lockout, but he is currently projected by MLB Trade Rumors to sign a five-year, $55 million contract, which does not take into consideration the posting fee Hiroshima would also receive.

That said, Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom and Co. remain interested in acquiring Suzuki’s services. Earlier this week, Boston Sports Journal’s Sean McAdam reported that the Sox, Blue Jays, and Yankees “have been the most aggressive in [their] pursuit of Suzuki.”

It’s likely that Brasier has read these rumors or something similar to them, because the 34-year-old hurler seems more than open to reuniting with Suzuki stateside.

“When I saw they were in talks involving Seiya, I was like, ‘Oh man!’ He’s a good, good player,” Brasier said. “I would have zero problems with him being with the Red Sox, I will tell you that.”

(Picture of Seiya Suzuki: Koji Watanabe/Getty Images)

Red Sox among group of teams who ‘have been most aggressive in pursuit’ of Japanese outfielder Seiya Suzuki, per report

The Red Sox are one of three American League teams with with interest in Japanese outfielder Seiya Suzuki, according Sean McAdam of Boston Sports Journal.

Per McAdam, “one major-league source reports the Yankees, Blue Jays, and Red Sox have been the most aggressive in pursuit of Suzuki.”

Suzuki had been one of the more coveted free agents in this winter’s market prior to the anticipated work stoppage putting a freeze on transactions beginning December 2.

The 27-year-old was initially posted by the Hiroshima Carp of Nippon Professional Baseball on November 22, which — under normal circumstances — would have given him and his representatives up to 30 days to negotiate a contract with major-league clubs.

Because of the lockout, however, Suzuki’s posting window has been paused for the time being. Once the work stoppage eventually comes to a close, he would then have roughly 20 or so days to continue negotiating with MLB teams or otherwise return to Japan.

This past season marked Suzuki’s ninth with Hiroshima, and it was one in which the right-handed hitter batted .317/.433/.639 with 26 doubles, 38 home runs, 88 RBIs, 77 runs scored, nine stolen bases, 88 walks, and 89 strikeouts over 134 games (538 plate appearances) for the Carp.

In the wake of trading Hunter Renfroe to the Brewers for Jackie Bradley Jr. and a pair of prospects, the Red Sox very well find themselves in need of some outfield help, particularly from the right side of the plate.

As noted by McAdam, “Suzuki could play right field for the Sox, replacing Renfroe both defensively and as a productive right-handed bat.”

Not only has Suzuki enjoyed a great deal of offensive success over the course of his nine-year NPB career, but the 5-foot-11, 182 pounder is also a five-time recipient of the Mitsui Golden Glove Award.

By dealing away Renfroe and acquiring Bradley Jr. from Milwaukee, Boston has added another left-handed bat to an outfield mix that already consists of Alex Verdugo and Jarren Duran.

Suzuki, in turn, would provide the Sox with a talented right-handed hitter while simultaneously allowing the club to keep Verdugo in left field and Enrique Hernandez in center field if they so choose.

When speaking with reporters (including MassLive.com’s Christopher Smith) last week, Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom addressed this very topic when discussing what Boston still needs to do when this transaction freeze ends.

“I do feel we still have room to add position players to this crew,” Bloom said. “Obviously swapping Hunter for Jackie does change the handedness of our group a little bit. So maybe the dial moves a little more toward a right-handed bat where before it might have been towards a left-handed bat. But there’s different ways it can come together with the versatility and flexibility that we have. So we’re going to keep looking to supplement.”

Regarded by many — including an evaluator McAdam spoke to — as “a difference-maker,” Suzuki is projected by MLB Trade Rumors to receive a five-year deal worth $55 million in free agency.

While signing Suzuki would not cost the Red Sox (or any other team) a draft pick, they would owe Hiroshima compensation in the form of a posting fee. Under the current agreement between Major League Baseball and NPB, this posting fee is 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.

(Picture of Seiya Suzuki: Yuichi Masuda/Getty Images)

Seiya Suzuki, Japanese outfielder who Red Sox have ‘thoroughly’ scouted, to be posted next week (report)

Japanese outfielder Seiya Suzuki will reportedly be posted by the Hiroshima Toyo Carp of Nippon Professional Baseball next week, according to MLB Network’s Jon Morosi.

Once posted, Suzuki would under normal circumstances have up to 30 days to negotiate with major-league clubs. However, because of the looming work stoppage, the 27-year-old and his representatives may only have until December 1 to talk with teams before the Collective Bargaining Agreement expires.

Per The Athletic’s Andrew Baggarly, Major League Baseball and NPB were at one point “close to an agreement” in which the clock pertaining to Suzuki’s 30-day posting window “would be stopped in the event of an industry lockout.”

So, if Suzuki were to be posted under this scenario next Wednesday, for instance, he would then have approximately one week to negotiate with clubs before the impending lockout begins. On the other side of that, he would a little more than three weeks to talk with teams once the league and players’ association implement a new CBA.

If Suzuki has yet to sign a contract with a big-league club by the time his clock runs out, he would subsequently have to return to Hiroshima for the 2022 season.

Suzuki, who does not turn 28 until next August, is regarded as one of the top free agents in this winter’s class since he has already enjoyed quite a successful career in Japan.

This past season with the Carp, the right-handed hitter slashed .319/.436/.644 to go along with 26 doubles, a career-high 38 home runs, 88 RBIs, 77 runs scored, nine stolen bases, 88 walks, and 87 strikeouts over 133 total games spanning 535 plate appearances. He also helped Samurai Japan win a gold medal in the Olympic Games over the summer.

A native of Tokyo, Suzuki is a five-time NPB All-Star who has won four Gold Glove Awards for his defensive work in right field. The 5-foot-11, 182 pounder has primarily been an outfielder for Hiroshima since 2015 and has drawn comparisons to Braves All-Star Ronald Acuna Jr.

Earlier this month, WEEI’s Rob Bradford reported that the Red Sox were interested in Suzuki and have been “thoroughly” scouting the international star.

When broached about this topic during last week’s GM Meetings in Carlsbad, Calif., Sox general manager Brian O’Halloran would not get into the specifics, but said that “we scout all markets, including the international markets, very thoroughly.”

Any club — including the Red Sox — that manages to sign Suzuki before his posting period ends would then owe the Carp additional compensation under the current MLB-NPB agreement.

According to Morosi, “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.”

(Picture of Seiya Suzuki: Koji Watanabe/Getty Images)

Red Sox have ‘thoroughly’ scouted Japanese outfielder Seiya Suzuki, who is expected to be posted soon

Could the Red Sox be interested in signing Japanese outfielder Seiya Suzuki this winter? According to WEEI’s Rob Bradford, the Sox have “thoroughly” scouted the international star.

Suzuki is expected to be posted by the Hiroshima Toyo Carp of Nippon Professional Baseball at some point this off-season, MLB.com’s Jon Morosi reported last Friday.

Per Morosi, Hiroshima has yet to formally announce that Suzuki will be posted, but the club is slated to do so once the Japan Series — which was pushed back because of the Summer Olympics in Tokyo — concludes later this month.

Assuming that Suzuki is posted by the Carp by the end of November, major-league teams would then have 30 days from the date of posting to negotiate a contract with the 27-year-old, who would not be subject to international signing bonus limitations since he is over the age of 25 and has more than six seasons of professional experience.

This past season with Hiroshima, Suzuki slashed an impressive .319/.436/.644 to go along with 26 doubles, 38 home runs, 88 RBIs, 77 runs scored, nine stolen bases, 88 walks, and 87 strikeouts over 133 games and 535 plate appearances.

When the 2021 NPB season was paused on account of the Olympics, the right-handed hitter helped Samurai Japan win a gold medal in their home country that was capped off by a dramatic 2-0 victory over Team USA on August 7.

In addition to what he has done at the plate, Suzuki is well renowned for his defense, as the five-time NPB All-Star is also a four-time recipient of NPB’s Gold Glove Award for his work as a right fielder.

Listed at 5-foot-11 and 182 pounds, Suzuki does not turn 28 until next August. Morosi notes that he has drawn comparisons to Braves star outfielder Ronald Acuna Jr. because of his “patience, power and base-stealing acumen.”

On the flip side of that, FanGraphs’ Eric Longenhagen analyzed that Suzuki “has plus power that comes from a dip-and-rip style of hitting, where he just sort of collapses his back side and tries to pull the ball with power as often as possible.

“Suzuki is at his best when he’s getting his arms extended on pitches well out over the plate,” Longenhagen continued, “but he tends to foul off or swing under fastballs creeping in on him.”

As far as contract projections go, FanGraphs has Suzuki netting himself anywhere between $40 million to $45.2 million over the span of a four-year deal. MLB Trade Rumors, on the other hand, projects that the Tokyo native will receive a five-year, $55 million contract on the open market.

Any deal Suzuki signs with a major-league team would have to include a posting fee as a way to compensate the Carp. As noted by Morosi, Hiroshima “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” under the current agreement between Major League Baseball and NPB.

It is unclear at this point just how serious the Red Sox are about pursuing Suzuki as a free agent. Boston’s outfield picture for 2022 already appears crowded with Alex Verdugo, Enrique Hernandez, Hunter Renfroe, J.D. Martinez, and Tim Locastro under club control heading into next season.

That said, chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom has made it a point of emphasis in his tenure with the Red Sox to cast a wide net when it comes to constructing a big-league roster, so Suzuki should at the very least be on Boston’s radar for the time being.

(Picture of Seiya Suzuki: Koji Watanabe/Getty Images)