Yankees eyeing stud Japanese outfielder in free agency

Alexander Wilson
Seiya Suzuki, yankees

The New York Yankees have had success bringing players over from Japan in the past, notably Masahiro Tanaka and Hideki Matsui. I would be remiss not to mention Ichiro Suzuki, who signed with the Yankees after a phenomenal career with the Seattle Mariners, posting 10 All-Star appearances and an MVP award.

There’s another awesome prospect on the horizon who is looking to make the transition to major league baseball. Seiya Suzuki, who spent last season with Hiroshima in Japan’s Central League. He was preparing to negotiate with teams in the MLB before the lockout.

Unfortunately, the lockout has stalled his progression to make a move, but it is entirely possible that his transition takes place in the spring when the lockout is expected to end. The Yankees are reportedly one of the few teams aggressively pursuing his talents, and at 27-years-old, he has plenty of time left to develop into a phenomenal major league player. Considering Ichiro made the move at 27 as well, Seiya has similar potential, but he’s not comparable to Ichiro, of course.

General manager Brian Cashman declined to comment about the Yankees considering Suzuki would be a free agent acquisition, given the lockout rules.

What would the Japanese star bring to the Yankees?

Nonetheless, Suzuki is projected to earn a contract worth $55 million over five years, and for a player of his talent, it could end up being a steal. Suzuki posted a .317 batting average over 435 at-bats this past season. He recorded 38 homers, 88 RBIs, and nine stolen bases.

Suzuki predominantly features in the outfield but has the capability to play at shortstop and third base. The super-utility player is most comfortable in the outfield, and with the Yankees looking to acquire another talent after allowing Clint Frazier to walk this off-season and rejecting the club option for Brett Gardner, he could fit the bill.

While the Yankees will have plenty of competition for his signature, his phenomenal bat and quality defense make him an attractive prospect and one that has flown under the radar.