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Sunday, July 14, 2024

Seiya Suzuki is MLB’s Latest Big-Money Japanese Star

  • He is the highest-paid position player coming out of Japan in MLB history.
  • A five-time All-Star in Nippon Professional Baseball, the outfielder hit .319 with 38 HRs and 88 RBI in 2021.
MLB/Design: John Regula

The Cubs have won the bidding war for Seiya Suzuki, who has all the tools to be MLB’s next international superstar.

On Wednesday, the 27-year-old outfielder agreed to a five-year, $85 million deal with Chicago, according to multiple reports. The Cubs will pay the Hiroshima Toyo Carp a $14.6 million posting fee, bringing their total commitment to just under $100 million.

A five-time All-Star in Nippon Professional Baseball, Suzuki is the latest highly coveted Japanese player to make a big-money transfer to MLB, following the likes of Shohei Ohtani ($20M posting fee), Ichiro ($13M), Daisuke Matsuzaka ($51M), Yu Darvish ($51M), and Masahiro Tanaka ($20M).

  • Suzuki’s deal is the second-biggest for a Japanese player behind Tanaka ($155M, 2004) — and the highest for a position player.
  • Last season for Hiroshima, he hit .319 with 38 HRs and 88 RBI and won his fifth career Gold Glove.
  • In nine seasons in the NPB, he slashed .315/.414/.570 with 182 HRs and 562 RBI.

Along with new pitcher Marcus Stroman, Suzuki will be a cornerstone for the rebuilding Cubs. Last July, Chicago unloaded core players Anthony Rizzo, Kris Bryant, and Javier Baez and sank to a fourth-place 71-91 in the NL Central.

The Cubs have the 17th-highest payroll in MLB ($106.4M) — excluding the pending deal — and are understandably long shots to win the World Series (+10000*).

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