Boston Red Sox Rumors: Seiya Suzuki signing could be imminent

Outfielder Seiya Suzuki #51 of Team Japan (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)
Outfielder Seiya Suzuki #51 of Team Japan (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images) /

It has been an eventful past 24 hours for the Boston Red Sox. For starters, Red Sox legend David Ortiz was selected to the Hall of Fame last night, becoming the fifth player from Boston to be elected on their first try. It’s a huge accomplishment for the man known as “Big Papi”.

While many Red Sox fans were celebrating Ortiz’s induction into the Hall of Fame, there was another very important piece of news that slipped out yesterday that generally went unnoticed. Reports were coming out of Japan that Seiya Suzuki, a Japanese outfielder looking to make the transition from the Nippon Professional Baseball league in Japan to the MLB, has a deal in place with Boston and will officially sign with them once the MLB lockout ends.

Of course, nothing is set in stone yet, and there were even different reports saying Suzuki hasn’t made his decision but has narrowed his list down to four teams, none of which were the Red Sox. Despite the confusion, Boston fans are certainly holding out hope that the first report is correct while the latter is false. Suzuki has been one of the best players in Japan for some time now, and he could make a huge impact with the Red Sox if he chooses to sign with them.

Seiya Suzuki could be the piece that puts the Boston Red Sox over the top

Signing international players in the MLB has occasionally been compared to playing the lottery. Some teams win big, with the Los Angeles Angels signing of two-way phenom Shohei Ohtani providing evidence that these big risks can sometimes pay off in a big way. Other teams aren’t as fortunate, and the Red Sox have been burned a couple of times recently. Rusney Castillo, anyone?

It’s normal to be wary of these potential signings, but Suzuki may just be one of the safest bets out there. Suzuki has developed into a true five-tool player during his time in Japan, and while there’s no guarantee that he will be able to play at the same level in the majors, I certainly wouldn’t be against him to do so.

Suzuki put together one of his most impressive campaigns in 2021, as he finished the season with a .317 batting average, 38 home runs, and 88 runs batted in. In the outfield, Suzuki made only three errors in 127 games, and picked up 13 assists as well. Suzuki also has speed on the basepaths, and although he only stole nine bags in 2021, he swiped a career high 25 bags just two years ago in 2019.

After trading away Hunter Renfroe for Jackie Bradley Jr. and a pair of prospects, the Boston Red Sox have a clear opening in their outfield, and it’s one that they are clearly hoping Suzuki will fill. Bradley is a solid defensive outfielder, but he hit just .163 last season, and at that rate, you cannot afford to pencil him in the lineup every single game. Bradley is a nice contingency plan to have in your back pocket in case one of your starters struggles, but he’s not starting caliber anymore.

If Suzuki were to end up in Boston and replicate his production from his time in Japan, that would be a huge boost to Boston’s lineup. We saw them struggle to get much production in the back half of their lineup in the playoffs, and pairing him up with the likes of Rafael Devers, Xander Bogaerts, and J.D. Martinez would immediately give the Red Sox one of the most feared lineups in the league.

There is a chance that Suzuki struggles, which is why Bradley is on the roster. Bringing on a guy like Suzuki, who is looking for a five year deal worth around $50-60 million, and having him fail would be a huge blow to the Sox. But sending away Renfroe for next to nothing has put the team in a position where they have to take a bit of a risk, and signing Suzuki is one worth taking.

Next. Red Sox will need to move fast if the lockout ends. dark

Of course, none of this will matter until the MLB lockout is officially over, but with labor talks reportedly making some progress, it would be wise for the front office to get their ducks in a row while they can. If the reports of the Boston Red Sox pursuit of Suzuki are true, that’s a great sign for not only the 2022 team, but the future of this franchise too.

Of course, nothing is finalized yet, but after sitting out much of the opening part of free agency, it sounds like the Sox are ready to come back with a bang once the lockout ends.