Japanese OF Suzuki to be posted (source)

November 5th, 2021

Star right fielder Seiya Suzuki will be made available to Major League Baseball clubs via the posting process this offseason, one source told MLB.com on Friday.

While the Hiroshima Toyo Carp of Nippon Professional Baseball have yet to make a formal announcement concerning the 27-year-old’s future, the club is expected to do so after the Japan Series concludes later this month. The 2021 NPB season is ending later than usual, because the league schedule paused during the Summer Olympics in Tokyo.

Once his posting window opens, Suzuki will compete with free agent Starling Marte as this winter’s top available outfielder. Suzuki is a five-time NPB All-Star, and he has excelled internationally, winning MVP honors at the 2019 WBSC Premier12 tournament.

Suzuki is coming off a 2021 season in which he posted career highs in OPS (1.079) and home runs (38) in 131 games for the Carp. As a right-handed batter with patience, power and basestealing acumen, Suzuki has earned comparisons to Atlanta Braves star Ronald Acuña Jr.

In most years, NPB teams face a Dec. 5 deadline to post players for MLB clubs. After the Carp post Suzuki, all MLB clubs will have 30 days to negotiate the terms of a contract. Suzuki won’t be subject to international signing bonus limitations, because he’s at least 25 years old with six or more seasons of professional experience.

The Mets could emerge as one candidate to sign Suzuki, with Michael Conforto now a free agent, but it’s impossible to gauge the team’s true interest until after they hire a new general manager.

The Rangers have close scouting ties with NPB, dating back to their pursuit of Yu Darvish a decade ago. Suzuki’s power would be welcome in a Texas lineup that finished last in the American League in home runs by right-handed batters.

In addition to Suzuki and Marte, free agents Kris Bryant and Chris Taylor could impact the top of the outfield market because of their positional versatility.

Under the current MLB-NPB transfer agreement, 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.

The 2020-21 offseason included one prominent reminder that posted players don’t necessarily sign with MLB clubs. The Yomiuri Giants posted right-hander Tomoyuki Sugano last Dec. 7, but he returned to the Giants when a Jan. 7 signing deadline passed without a deal.