The Seattle Mariners have lots of money to spend this offseason, and they should be willing to go out and buy the players that Jerry Dipoto and his staff think will best enhance the Mariners’ chances of winning in 2022 and help finish the rebuild. The Mariners have been linked to an intriguing player from Japan who is expected to be posted for MLB teams to sign: Seiya Suzuki.
MLB Insider Jon Morosi tweeted this out recently and has been lately adding teams that could be interested in Suzuki’s services. The Mariners are one of the teams that have been linked to Suzuki, and Seattle Times beat reporter Ryan Divish tweeted that the Mariners have reported interest.
There seems to be a clear and real interest from the Mariners to sign Suzuki, who has put up some of the best numbers in Japanese baseball the last few years. In 2021, he slashed .319/.436/.640 with 38 home runs, and even had more walks than strikeouts in over 500 plate appearances. Those numbers are coming in a league where the competition is lesser than that of Major League Baseball, but they are still impressive.
Even if Suzuki can’t put up the MVP type numbers he put up in Japan for the Mariners, it is not out of the realm of possibility that Suzuki can still be a well above-average player for the Mariners. On top of his offensive prowess, Suzuki is also a versatile defender. He is listed to be a third baseman, shortstop, and corner outfielder. It is expected that the Mariners would want to use him as a corner outfielder, but the positional flexibility is definitely a plus.
Japanese writer Yoshi Sawa shared some thoughts on the talented Seiya Suzuki
"Anytime when I explain about Seiya Suzuki, his batting always comes on top. He usually hits fourth in the lineup in Japan, which is the same position for second in MLB’s lineup.He is a home run leader in 2021 with 38 home runs. However, he is known for his has good swing speed more. His swing speed is about 95 mph.He has been recorded more than .300AVG/25HR each season from 2016.He is also known as a good base runner. He only recorded 9 SB this season because he focused on hitting extra bases (he hits 26 2B/38HRs), but he recorded 25 SB in 2019, which is the highest in his career.I saw that some US media explained him as little Mike Trout. I agree with it. But, suppose I say who will be a good comparison player to him in MLB. In that case, I say Ronald Acuna Jr(ATL), Bryan Raynolds(PIT), Mookie Betts(LAD), Byron Buxton (MIN), or Randy Arozarena(TB).I know when Japanese player moves to MLB, their stats will get lower than in Japan. So I thought he might hit around .250AVG/20HR/10SB, then those players’ stats I listed above are very close to my prediction of Suzuki’s stats in MLB."
These are some very glowing comments from someone who has been in Japan and seen Seiya Suzuki up close and in person. Even if Suzuki were to hit .250 and have 20 home runs like Sawa suggests, it would still be a massive upgrade for the Mariners in 2022.
Former Los Angeles Dodgers General Manager Dan Evans also shared some insight with me.
"Seiya Suzuki is an athletic, two-way right fielder who will be an impact, middle of the order player and is entering his prime at age 27.Durable with good plate discipline and a patient approach, Suzuki has been one of Japan’s best players over the last six years, and his Hiroshima Carp team advanced to the Japan Series three consecutive years in 2016-2018.Suzuki has won three Golden Gloves has a plus, accurate arm, runs good routes, and could play CF for a period, but is best in RF.I first saw him as an 18YO rookie in 2013, and have seen his game evolve considerably through his career.An accomplished player, he can be compared to Springer, Pollock, and Marte among big leaguers."
As Dan Evans says, Seiya Suzuki would bring lots of value to the Mariners. He brings at least above average defense, and could potentially give the Mariners tremendous offensive upside. If the Mariners get a player even close to the caliber of player of George Springer, AJ Pollock, or Starling Marte, it would be huge for Seattle.
It is now all but official that the Japanese outfielder will be posted and is set to become a free agent soon; the Mariners could and should be one of the teams involved on the sweepstakes of signing Suzuki. Some think he could get a 3 year deal for a total of $21 million, and they should, at minimum, offer him this contract.