Signed a five-year deal worth $85 million with the Chicago Cubs
While the Blue Jays explored the international free-agent market a few seasons ago with Shun Yamaguchi (when it comes to MLB-ready players), the front office was also reportedly interested in outfielder Seiya Suzuki this past offseason.
Posted by the Hiroshima Carp just prior to the lockout, Suzuki was regarded as a player ready to transition straight to the MLB stage, as the right fielder posted a .315/.414/.570 slash line through nine seasons in the NPB, adding 182 home runs, 562 RBI, and a .985 OPS.
Adding Suzuki would be a fun idea for this Jays squad but would have created even more of a logjam in the outfield, considering the core of Lourdes Gurriel Jr., Teoscar Hernandez, and George Springer along with Randal Grichuk (at the time) on the bench creating a difficult environment for regular playing time. The righty batter would eventually sign with the Chicago Cubs on a five-year deal worth $85 million while the Jays added Raimel Tapia and Bradley Zimmer (with Grichuk heading to Colorado).
Considered a rookie, Suzuki has been productive at the plate, sporting a .776 OPS while adding four home runs and 21 RBI through 139 at-bats. While he is striking out a bit more than Cubs fans probably like (10th percentile in K%), he does work the count and has some power in the bat, evident by his 87th percentile BB% and 72nd percentile average exit velocity. In right field, Suzuki has one error through 319.0 innings while adding one assist.