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)