Whenever the ongoing, tenuous lockout subsides, Japanese superstar Seiya Suzuki will have 20 days to make an MLB city his American home.
Suzuki, a right-handed hitter who models his game after Mike Trout, still intends to play in The Show this summer despite complications that could come from the lockout, he told The Athletic’s Andy Baggarly in a wide-ranging interview. The Giants, one of 10 to 12 teams to Zoom with Suzuki shortly when he was posted, are expected to remain interested in the phenom.
But is Suzuki interested in the Bay? That he won’t say. When asked to provide a list of his preferred destinations, Suzuki comically pinched his lips together, signaling he can’t and won’t disclose his thoughts.
Pundits say Suzuki, 27, could be one of the most impactful Japanese players in recent memory, joining stars like Shohei Ohtani and Hideki Matsui. The five-tool outfielder, a five-time Nippon Baseball League All-Star, and six-time Central League Golden Glove winner, most recently led his native Japan to a gold medal in the 2020 Olympics.
The Giants, coming off a franchise-record 107 wins and in need of a right-handed bat, could compete with the Dodgers, Mariners, Padres, Yankees, Red Sox, Blue Jays, Angels and Mets — among others — for his services.
According to Baggarly, Suzuki expressed no significant interest in playing in the American League or National League or to living on the West Coast versus the East Coast. He’s expected to earn a contract of about five years, $60 million — one of the richest multiyear deals for a Japanese player in history — Baggarly reported.
But the lockout looms as an unfortunate barrier of entry for Suzuki. A 20-day posting period ignited by the lockout’s conclusion makes for a tight window. Not only will he have to move across the world and follow whatever COVID-19 travel guidelines and protocols there might be, he’ll have to participate in a likely truncated spring training.
The situation is far from ideal. But that’s not stopping him.
“I can’t stop thinking about which team to pick,” Suzuki told The Athletic. “I’m going to be honest with you: I’m still very confused. I can’t sleep every night because a lot of the teams hit my heart. I still have to give it a lot of thought.”