Wednesday, May 25 2022
Seiya Suzuki treated art two images 2022

When the MLB lockout ends and free agency starts up again, the Mets could possibly make key additions that don’t grab headlines, they could go after someone like Kris Bryant, and they could also make a push for star Japanese outfielder Seiya Suzuki.

Suzuki, 27, was posted by the Hiroshima Toyo Carp of Nippon Professional Baseball in November, and MLB teams would’ve had 30 days to sign him if not for the lockout that began on Dec. 2.

But with the lockout interrupting the pursuit of Suzuki, MLB teams will have 20 days to negotiate a contract with him once the lockout ends. And the posting fee for Suzuki will be a percentage of his MLB earnings.

When it comes to a pursuit by the Mets, SNY’s Andy Martino recently reported that one team source cautioned not to rule it out.

Does Suzuki make sense for the Mets?

The short answer is yes. A team in the Mets’ position, aiming to contend for a World Series in 2022 while attempting to build a sustainable winner, should be interested in every player they think could help them attain that goal.

The Mets are also (smartly) reluctant to trade their most prized prospects right now, are likely about to exceed the luxury tax by tens of millions of dollars (so what’s a bit more?), and can definitely use another potential impact bat to add to a lineup that will have a new look in 2022.

The long answer regarding the potential of the Mets adding Suzuki is that it’s a bit complicated.

As currently constructed, the Mets’ outfield — with Brandon Nimmo, Starling Marte, and Mark Canha — is full.

Sep 16, 2021; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Oakland Athletics center fielder Starling Marte (2) bats against the Kansas City Royals during the first inning at Kauffman Stadium.Sep 16, 2021; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Oakland Athletics center fielder Starling Marte (2) bats against the Kansas City Royals during the first inning at Kauffman Stadium.

But with the universal DH almost certainly about to be added to the National League, the Mets should have an extra spot to play with. Canha could DH often if the Mets sign Suzuki, or they can use a rotation at DH.

It should also be noted that Nimmo, whom the Mets are interested in extending but who recently hired Scott Boras to represent him, is a free agent after the 2022 season. So the Mets might need an outfielder sooner rather than later.

The presence of J.D. Davis and Dominic Smith on the roster could complicate things a bit in the event that the Mets sign Suzuki, but two players who might not have a future in New York (Davis, Smith, and Jeff McNeil are all available via trade) should not prevent the Mets from going after Suzuki.

As far as cost, MLB Trade Rumors predicted that Suzuki would get a deal worth $55 million over five years.

It is true that Steve Cohen‘s Mets can afford to do anything they want, but it’s also true that Cohen (and every other owner in the sport) will not spend blindly forever. The Mets can exceed the luxury tax in 2022 (and will probably also do so in 2023 and 2024), but they will likely want to get back under it by 2025.

So cost does matter, and it’s something that could make Suzuki more appealing than someone like Bryant (the versatile Bryant still makes lots of sense regardless), who could get a deal worth well over $100 million.

Aug 25, 2021; New York City, New York, USA; San Francisco Giants third baseman Kris Bryant (23) at Citi Field.Aug 25, 2021; New York City, New York, USA; San Francisco Giants third baseman Kris Bryant (23) at Citi Field.

What kind of player would the Mets be getting in Suzuki?

He’s been an absolute stud in Japan, slashing .309/.402/.541 with 189 homers (including a career-high 38 in 2021) in nine seasons. He has not been a high-strikeout guy during his career, and hit .317/.433/.636 last season.

Defensively in right field, Suzuki — who has won four Gold Gloves in Japan and has a plus arm — was worth 6 DRS in 2020 and 2 DRS in 2021

But as is the case with any international player making the transition to MLB, the biggest question is over how Suzuki’s offensive numbers will translate.

Suzuki is athletic, his swing has been lauded by scouts, and Sports Info Solutions believes he will have an easier adjustment to big league pitching than Yoshi Tsutsugo, who struggled with the Tampa Bay Rays and Los Angeles Dodgers during his first year and change in the majors but excelled late last season with the Pittsburgh Pirates.

SIS writes in their profile of Suzuki that he is a line drive hitter whose high batting averages in Japan are not a fluke, and that his stance could be a differentiator when it comes to the possibility of a smooth adjustment from NPB to MLB.

Meanwhile, R.J. Anderson of CBS Sports dove into Suzuki’s metrics in Japan, where Suzuki (with caveats included) compared favorably to players like Pete Alonso and Bryce Harper.

What Suzuki becomes in the majors if he does indeed sign with a big league club this offseason remains to be seen. But as a two-way player in his prime with a good approach at the plate and serious power (who could possibly be signed for a relative bargain), he should be firmly on the Mets’ radar.

Source: Yahoo Sports

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