Do the Mariners actually need an outfielder? You know what? I think they do. Although there is definitely the potential for a logjam at the position arriving in the future, there is also an immediate need at the position. Mitch Haniger has one year left on his deal (please, re-sign/extend him), Kelenic is super young, and Fraley/Trammell/Moore are all unproven or unreliable. If you don’t think they are interested, don’t take my word for it. Take Dipoto’s.
I know that guys like Deloach and Julio are waiting in the wings. If you have a chance to get a great player, though, you go and do it. He hit .321, .335, .300, and .317 over the last four seasons, and it wasn’t via slapping the ball around the field Ichiro style. No, Suzuki likes to donate baseballs to fans sitting in the stands. He has hit 31, 28, 25, and 38 HR in those four seasons.
Yeah, give me a corner outfielder that has been hitting .315 with 30 HR over the last four seasons. All day, every day. OH! He’s got a great eye also, with an OBP 100+ points higher than his average. That goes along with a strong arm and pretty good defense which earned him four gold gloves during his time in Japan.
One more thing. The dude’s got potential speed too. 4, 25, 6, 9 SB. It’s odd, but nice to know that it’s there if he needs it. When a player is hitting 30 HR and 30 2B, they aren’t always going to have that many opportunities to steal. You can see that it’s there though, and being a threat on the bases, even if it only leads to 8-10 SB, can affect what pitches the batters behind him in the lineup see.
Due to the uncertainty of how players will succeed in making the jump to the MLB, it sounds like Suzuki will get a contract somewhere in the range of 5/55. It’s a great number for the potential and would get the Mariners a great outfielder through his prime years.