The Chicago Cubs are signing Japanese star outfielder Seiya Suzuki to a five-year, $85 million contract to bring him over to the United States and into the NL Central, according to reports from David Kaplan and Ken Rosenthal.
The signing comes just days after Japanese news outlet Nikkan Sports reported that the 27-year-old was signing on with the San Diego Padres for five years, $70 million.
For a team looking for not just offensive power but star power, the Cubs are taking the gamble of bringing Suzuki stateside to see if he can replicate his recent successes in the Nippon Professional Baseball League.
Last season with the Hiroshima Toyo Carp, he slugged a league-leading 38 home runs with a 1.073 OPS. He also batted .317 with 26 doubles in 134 games.
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He also provides Chicago with some more versatility given his ability to play the outfield, third base, and shortstop — ensuring he gets enough at-bats with the team while being able to give the likes of Ian Happ and Patrick Wisdom opportunities to DH.
There obviously comes some uncertainty when bringing over Japanese stars to the majors seeing as their power doesn’t always translate as effectively. However, Suzuki is still being projected as a serviceable bat that could boost the Cubs’ offense after parting ways with Anthony Rizzo, Kris Bryant, and Javier Baez last season.
According to ZiPS projections from Fangraphs, Chicago’s newest star is projected to bat .287 with 23 home runs and 85 RBI and an OPS+ of 124 in 2022.