Earlier today we covered the news that the San Diego Padres would be without their star shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. for up to three months after he underwent surgery on his fractured wrist. In that article, we mentioned that much of the Padres’ Opening Day lineup might look different than it currently does and suggested that they also needed to sign a new left fielder.
Well, according to Nikkan Sports, it looked as though they didn’t wait long in doing just that as the outlet reported that Suzuki was headed to San Diego on a five-year deal.
According to this report Seiya Suzuki has signed with the Padres, 5 yr, $70M https://t.co/taAO2MZBAp
— Chris Meaney (@chrismeaney) March 14, 2022
However, multiple reports released after Nikkan Sports’ story revealed that Suzuki had not made a decision on where he’ll be playing in the majors this season. MLB insider Jon Heyman added that the Los Angeles Dodgers, Boston Red Sox, San Francisco Giants, Seattle Mariners, and Chicago Cubs are among other suitors interested.
The 27-year-old was a star for the Hiroshima Toyo Carp in the Nippon Professional Baseball League in Japan. Last season he hit 38 home runs with a 1.073 OPS which were both best in the league. Even though we don’t always see power translate from other leagues over the major league baseball, there are many analysts who believe that Suzuki’s strong frame and quick hands will make the transition less difficult.
Spent a lot of the day studying Seiya Suzuki.
– Swing is short & sweet.
– Fast hands, quick to the ball, generates easy bat speed.
– Big power thanks to use of hips with body.
– Bat path allows him to make contact all over the zone.
— Chris Clegg (@RotoClegg) November 7, 2021
In fact, the ZiPS projection system believes that Suzuki will immediately be a better-than-average corner outfielder and sees a final line of a .287 average with 23 home runs, 85 RBI, 81 Runs, and 12 stolen bases. Obviously the home run totals could be impacted a bit by playing his home games in PetCo Park, and the lineup still needs a little bit of work, but he’s joining a strong franchise that has shown it’s more than willing to make big moves to add pieces around him.
Suzuki is known for being a solid defensive outfielder with a tremendous arm, so he does profile more as a right fielder. Should Nikkan Sports’ report ring true, the Padres could easily move him there and shift Wil Myers over to left field, but they are also shopping Myers in trade talks, so it’s possible that the team’s starting left fielder isn’t actually on the roster yet.
With Suzuki currently in the United States and recently working out in Los Angeles at Nolan Arenado’s facility, it shouldn’t be long before he’s able to start working with whichever team he chooses.