The Yankees could replace Brett Gardner with Japanese star slugger

Alexander Wilson
Seiya Suzuki, yankees

The New York Yankees have a long road ahead to construct a team that is capable of winning a World Series. General manager Brian Cashman has the ability to spend this off-season when the lockout ends, and free agency 2.0 commences. Considering he had a one-year, $25 million deal on the table for Justin Verlander before the lockout, should attest to that sentiment.

However, the Yankees need to bolster several positions, including shortstop, starting pitching, and the outfield. Letting Clint Frazier and Tyler Wade walk in free agency in addition to rejecting the club option for Brett Gardner opens up a major hole that needs to be addressed.

One name that has been floated recently is Seiya Suzuki of the Hiroshima Carp in the Japanese Central League. On November 22, Suzuki was posted by Hiroshima, freeing him to negotiate with all 30 MLB teams. Suzuki had 30 days to find a new contract and club, but the lockout interrupted his progress.

There were a number of teams aggressively pursuing Suzuki’s talent, and with a predicted contract of five years, $55 million, he’s well within the Yankees’ spending limit.

The 27-year-old slugger was phenomenal for Hiroshima this past season, recording a. 317 average with 38 homers and 88 RBIs. He struck out 89 times over 439 at-bats, good for a 20% strikeout rate. That is a stellar number that would hopefully translate to the MLB, but he would undoubtedly be tested with increased velocity and spin rate at the next level.

If the Yankees are looking for another hard-hitting outfielder to replace Gardner and Frazier, Suzuki is their man, and with prolonged success in Japan, the expectation is he will make a smooth transition.

Suzuki’s statistics closely mirror those of Hideki Matsui back when he made the transition to the MLB at 27 years old. The Bombers have had plenty of success bringing players over across the ocean, and Seiya could represent another foreign star to don the pinstripes.