Yankees need to aggressively pursue Japanese star outfielder to bolster unit

Seiya Suzuki, yankees

With free agency starting promptly, the New York Yankees and the rest of the MLB will be aggressively pursuing talent. It has already been reported that the Yankees could land star first baseman Freddie Freeman, formerly of the Atlanta Braves.

Freeman is coming off a World Series victory, hitting .300 with 31 homers last season. At 31 years old, Freeman is looking for a six-year deal worth over $150 million, and since the Yankees have a bit of money to spend with a luxury tax starting at $230 million, signing him is realistic.

However, the Bombers need support at multiple positions, including starting pitcher and in the outfield. Shortstop remains one of the bigger concerns, but they can only afford to land one big-name free agent this off-season, and if they go with Freeman, you could basically rule out Carlos Correa or Trevor Story.

When focusing on the outfield, Japanese star slugger Seiyu Suzuki makes perfect sense for a lineup at harps on home run hitters.

Suzuki is just 27 years old and will be taking calls from MLB teams to make the transition. His projected salary is $55 million over five years, a number Yankees can consider after allowing Brett Gardner, Clint Frazier, and Tyler Wade to walk this off-season.

Suzuki is coming off a phenomenal season with the Hiroshima Carp, hitting .317 with 38 homers and 88 RBIs. His hitting prowess makes him an enticing option for teams with money to spend during the second portion of free agency, and the Yankees were reportedly interested in his services before the lockout.

However, with the return of Aaron Hicks and retention of Joey Gallo up to this point, it is possible the Yankees simply elevate one of their young prospects to serve as depth, maybe Estevan Florial.

Nonetheless, Suzuki also brings over solid defense, recording a .989 fielding percentage last season, featuring in right field. If the Yankees are planning to utilize Giancarlo Stanton in the outfield, Suzuki could fill a designated hitter role early in his tenure, but they would prefer to make him a featured player given his age and potential for growth.

Yankees’ potential target is still committed to playing in MLB despite lockout

yankees, seiya suzuki

Despite the fact that there was no collective bargaining agreement (CBA) before the league-imposed February 28 deadline (later pushed back to March 1), potential New York Yankees and Mets target Seiya Suzuki remains committed to playing in the major leagues and not in his native Japan, according to The Athletic’s Andrew Baggarly.

According to MLB Trade Rumors, MLB agreed to freeze Sukuki’s 30-day signing window until there is a new CBA deal in place, which may or may not happen soon and depends entirely on negotiations between the league and the Players Association.

Commissioner Rob Manfred has already cancelled the first two series of the season and, if there is no agreement soon, more games could taken off the calendar. The Yankees, like every other team in MLB, are working on schedule changes and ticket policies after recent news.

Suzuki wants to play at the highest level, could the Yankees sign him?

Baggarly said Suzuki, a potential fit in the Yankees’ outfield if they decide to splash the cash after the lockout, is all-in on joining the majors.

“Seiya Suzuki’s agent, Joel Wolfe, tells me the Hiroshima Carp star outfielder isn’t reevaluating coming to MLB based on (Tuesday’s) news that games will be cancelled: ‘Seiya is 100% committed to playing in MLB this year. He’s shown remarkable patience and resolve,’” he wrote.

Indeed, Suzuki may opt to stay in Japan if the season is called off, but as of now, he is still in waiting mode because he wants to play in America.

Per NJ Advance Media and Japan’s Nikkan Sports, “the Padres, Cubs, Mariners and Giants are ‘expected’ to be among the finalists for Suzuki once negotiations resume. … The Red Sox, Yankees and Blue Jays … have all been linked to Suzuki as well, however, and Yahoo Japan suggests the Red Sox could be an early favorite.”

Suzuki, 27, hit.309 with 189 homers, 621 RBI and a .943 OPS in 1,055 games in Nippon Professional Baseball.

WATCH: Yankees’ free-agent target Seiya Suzuki belts baseballs in batting session

Seiya Suzuki, yankees

The New York Yankees are expected to exit the lockout with an aggressive mentality towards signing free agents and acquiring talented players. Having to fill multiple holes on the roster, one prospect who has been linked to the Bombers is Japanese outfielder Seiya Suzuki.

Suzuki has been linked to the Yankees for quite some time, and he will get a second chance at finding a new club once the lockout ends.

According to Andrew Baggarly of The Athletic, the Yankees and a bevy of other teams will be in on the Japanese star slugger:

The Dodgers, Padres, Yankees, Rays and Blue Jays also are expected to be in the mix. Perhaps Billy Eppler, who was so instrumental in recruiting Ohtani to the Angels, will use the same persuasive skills now that he’s running the Mets front office. Or perhaps Suzuki will seek to do more than emulate Trout. Perhaps he’d like to become his teammate in Anaheim.

Yankees general manager Brian Cashman will have plenty of competition for Suzuki, especially coming off a stellar 2021 campaign with the Hiroshima Carp.

Suzuki recorded a .317 batting average with 38 homers and 88 RBIs this past season, including 88 walks and 89 strikeouts. Suzuki isn’t only considered a high-profile slugger from overseas, but he’s also great at creating contact and getting on base. He recorded a 1.069 OPS and .433 OBP.

Recently, Suzuki posted a video during a batting session, preparing for the season ahead.

There is no telling when the lockout will end, but both the players union and owners are keen to begin meeting more often to finally solve some of the tough economic issues that stand in their path.

With the Yankees remaining quiet during the first portion of free agency, expect them to be aggressive with any new signings, and Suzuki could be at the top of their list to fill an essential outfield spot with the departure of Tyler Wade, Clint Frazier, and Brett Gardner.

Report: Yankees may have home-town competition for Japanese star slugger Seiya Suzuki

Seiya Suzuki, yankees

One of the Yankees‘ top off-season targets is Japanese outfielder Seiya Suzuki. General manager Brian Cashman was reportedly an “aggressive” suitor for the right-handed slugger, but after the lockout commenced, talks simmered down.

Suzuki is an incredibly intriguing prospect who closely mirrors Hideki Matsui when he transitioned to the MLB at 27 years old. While Matsui was a lefty hitter, both played outfield and featured similar numbers in their final season in the Japanese Central League.

In a recent interview, Suzuki detailed his excitement to compete against better players in the USA, hitting on several Japanese-born athletes who have made the transition.

Even if the Yankees push to sign Suzuki, who is expected to land a deal in the range of five-years, $55 million, they will have competition with many squads looking to bolster their outfield talent.

According to Andrew Baggarly of The Athletic, the Yankees could have competition from the Mets for Suzuki:

The Dodgers, Padres, Yankees, Rays and Blue Jays also are expected to be in the mix. Perhaps Billy Eppler, who was so instrumental in recruiting Ohtani to the Angels, will use the same persuasive skills now that he’s running the Mets front office. Or perhaps Suzuki will seek to do more than emulate Trout. Perhaps he’d like to become his teammate in Anaheim.

Just minutes after Hiroshima posted Suzuki’s rights, giving him a 30-day window to choose a Major League team, clubs begin calling to inquire about his services.

“Some had elaborately prepared presentations and others were a small group having a very personable chat,” Suzuki’s agent Joel Wolfe said. “All of them had at least the GM, manager, and hitting coach. Many included Japanese staff members. In each case, the GM and manager led the conversation. Seiya always had thoughtful answers and interesting questions.”

The Yankees could use Seiya immediately, whether it be as a starter or DH hitter:

Suzuki would bring a tremendous offensive bat to the Bombers, fitting their mold perfectly. This past season, he hit .317 with 38 homers and 88 RBIs, recording a .989 feeling percentage in right field. The Yankees do have Joey Gallo, Aaron Judge, and Giancarlo Stanton as starting options in the OF, not to mention the return of Aaron Hicks at some point.

However, with their troubled injury history and the loss of Brett Gardner, Clint Frazier, and Tyler Wade, Suzuki’s presence would be valuable moving forward.

The Yankees need to take chance on star Japanese slugger

yankees, seiya suzuki

When the New York Yankees brought Hideki Matsui to Major League baseball from Japan, he was just 28-years-old and coming off a 50 homerun season with Yomiuri in 2002.

Matsui posted a .334 batting average with 107 RBIs in addition before making the jump. His transition ended up being seamless as both a batter and defensive player. He hit .287 in his first season with 16 homers and 106 RBIs, showcasing his power and contact-hitting abilities. Hideki went on to be one of the most illustrious Yankee players in franchise history, and the team has had tremendous success helping Japanese players make the move overseas.

Another high-upside player is looking to make the move is Hiroshima carp outfielder Seiyu Suzuki, who is preparing to turn 28 this year after a phenomenal season in the Japanese Central League.

Matsui and Suzuki display eerily similar statistics at 27-years-old, with the ladder recording 36 homers, 88 RBIs, and a .317 batting average. Matsui posted 36 homers, 104 RBIs, and a .333 batting average.

There are several teams who are planning to pursue Suzuki once free agency opens back up aggressively, and the Yankees will likely be one of them as they prepare to make a few changes in the outfield with Brett Gardner, Tyler Wade, and Clint Frazier leaving the team this off-season.

With short porches in Yankee Stadium, Suzuki has the potential to hit double-digit homers in a reserve slot with the potential for more (he would serve as a great DH too).

The expectation is that Seiya will garner a contract worth about $55 million over five years, so the Bombers can utilize him as a depth piece for one season until Joey Gallo’s contract expires in 2023. It will give the team a flexible element to inject seamlessly without disrupting the team’s momentum, considering he will then have experience.

Defensively, Suzuki posted a .989 fielding percentage with three errors over 127 games this past season. Adjusting to the MLB may take some time, but that is why utilizing him in a reserve role makes the most sense for the first year of a prospective deal.

Not only with the Yankees be adding a solid outfielder they can rely on, but one that contains plenty of power to adhere to the Analytics department and their love for home run hitting players.

The Yankees could replace Brett Gardner with Japanese star slugger

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.

What an A+ off-season for the Yankees would look like

trevor story, new york yankees

If the New York Yankees want to have a successful off-season, general manager Brian Cashman has to be aggressive coming out of the lockout. Hal Steinbrenner instructed Cashman to wait patiently for the luxury tax threshold to reset during negotiations with the Players Union, which could affect their spending.

Before the lockout, teams spent over $1 billion on players on the market, leaving the Yankees in their dust as they scooped up the majority of talent. Nonetheless, there are still quality players available, notably Carlos Correa, Carlos Rodon, and Trevor Story. They could also set their sights on a player like Freddie Freeman if he’s willing to part ways with Atlanta after winning a championship this past season.

Let’s take a look at what an A+ off-season might look like for the Yankees, addressing multiple positions of concern.

An A+ off-season for the Yankees might look like this:

-Trevor Story

If the Yankees are looking for a stopgap at shortstop, Trevor Story could fit the bill perfectly over a two-year contract. Cashman has indicated they prefer to wait for Anthony Volpe to reach the majors, which will likely be in about two years. There are concerns with Story’s degrading arm strength, and if they overpay him a bit to settle on a short-term deal, The Yankees will get a solid offensive piece with power and a good defender to hold them over (moving him to 3rd on a long-term deal wouldn’t pan out).

Story had a down here in 2021 compared to his previous seasons. He hit .251 with 24 homers and a 23.4% strikeout rate. He still recorded a 3.5 WAR and 20 stolen bases, showcasing his athleticism. A two-year deal with a third-year club option would be ideal, but he would likely cost $20+ million per season over a contract of that length, which is necessary given the team’s weakness.

-Seiya Suzuki

The Yankees were one of Seiya Suzuki’s aggressive pursuers before the lockout, and they will likely continue chasing after his signature in the future. Suzuki has been compared to former Yankee Hideki Matsui, and their statistics coming out of Japan were eerily similar. Suzuki finished the 2021 season with a .317 average and 38 homers.

It is expected that Suzuki will land a deal in the five-year, $55 million range, and given his excessive power, the Yankees would have no problem paying him with the potential for massive upside. He would likely take over in right field, moving Aaron Judge to center, leaving Aaron Hicks in a reserve role.

-Carlos Rodon

At some point, the Yankees are going to have to spend on a starting pitcher, and they had $25 million on the table for Justin Verlander before the lockout. They could pursue an option by Carlos Rodon, who represents one of the better names on the market currently after the top pitchers were scooped up early on. Rodon posted a 2.37 ERA in 2021 over 132.2 innings.

Given his inconsistencies throughout his career, Rodon likely wouldn’t garner a long-term deal, but rather a short-term contract with incentives and an option if he performs well enough. The biggest difference for Rodon was his velocity last year, seeing a 3 mph increase with his fastball, which he used 58.6% of the time. With an increase in velocity and spin rate, Rodon has become an adequate starter and someone that could slot behind Gerrit Cole and provide the Yankees with more quality.

-Trade for Matt Olson

At some point, the Yankees need to understand that trading prospects for established players is a recipe for success. Considering they failed to develop Gleyber Torres, Gary Sanchez, and Luis Severino, utilizing some of their existing talents in the minor leagues could be useful to acquire a player like Matt Olson.

Olson is an incredible talent at 27-years-old. The Oakland Athletics still have team control over Olsen until 2024, giving him two more years of cost-efficient play at first base.

This past season, Olson hit .271 with 39 homers and a 16.8% strikeout rate. He took the jump to superstar, and injecting a lefty who can hit 40+ homers at Yankee Stadium into the lineup would be astronomical. Now, the deal would likely force the Yankees to part ways with some notable names, but a player like Olson gives your team a chance to compete offensively at a level beyond what we’ve seen the past few seasons.

Altogether, this grouping of players upgrades multiple spots of need for the Bombers and will undoubtedly put them in a position to make a run at the World Series in 2022.

[wpdiscuz-feedback id=”6m49icmn1k” question=”What do you think?” opened=”0″]How would you grade this prospective off-season? Comment here![/wpdiscuz-feedback]

Yankees could sign Hideki Matsui replica in free agency

Seiya Suzuki, yankees

The New York Yankees are focused on finding a short-stop free agent this off-season, but another name has bubbled to the surface and could be a solution in the outfield.

Suppose the Bombers were looking for an exact replica of Hideki Matsui. In that case, they might have found a player with his potential in Seiyu Suzuki, who is looking to make a move to Major League baseball after spending his career in Japan with the Hiroshima Carps.

The Yankees and Boston Red Sox were two teams “aggresively” pursuing Suzuki before the lockout, and with a 30-day window to strike a deal with a Major League team, that timeline was put on hold as the owners and Players Union battles it out to compromise on several important issues.

However, when things open back up, Suzuki will be a hot commodity on the open market, expected to sign a five-year, $55 million contract, potentially even more.

Looking at Suzuki’s style of play, his preferred position is right field, currently housed by Aaron Judge. Judge is on the brink of a monster contract extension himself, but Suzuki could make the transition to centerfield unless the Yankees are willing to transition Judge away from his strongest spot.

Looking at the Japanese star’s metrics, they closely compare to Matsui’s back in the day at 26-years-old.

Hideki Matsui’s age 26 season in Japan: .316/.438/.654/1.092 with 42 homers.

Seiya Suzuki’s age 26 seasons in Japan: .317/.433/.639/1.072with 38 homers.

It really can’t get closer between Matsui and Suzuki, who is only about four homers short of exactly replicating Hideki’s numbers.

Given the success the Yankees have had with Japanese players in the past, notably Masahiro Tanaka, Matsui, and Ichiro Suzuki, making a run at the Hiroshima outfielder could be in their best interest.

Ultimately, it comes down to how much general manager Brian Cashman is going to spend this off-season, having already committed to upgrading the shortstop position and adding a starting pitcher to pair with Gerrit Cole.

Whether it be Trevor Story or Carlos Correa, either will cost upwards of $20 million per season to acquire, and a starting pitcher could hover in the same price range. Unless the team is keen on trading for a shortstop that will cost far less, expect Hal Steinbrenner to open up his checkbook after the lockout, which is hard to believe after the Yankees remained quiet prior to the league shutting down.

In terms of Suzuki, he recently unfollowed the Boston Red Sox on Instagram, so it could be a hint that he prefers to wear pinstripes instead of joining a Boston team that had even more success last season. The team’s relationships with Matsui and Tanaka may even prove to be an advantage in their pursuit of Seiya.

New York Yankees News: Everything you need to know in one place

CC, Jeff Nelson suggests Frazier shut his trap

The New York Yankees designated their failed outfielder Clint Frazier for assignment on Nov. 19 and cut him days later; the move brought to an end his tremulous time with the Yankees. Frazier, now 27 years old, took a one-year $1.5 million contract with the Chicago Cubs. He is now taking shots at the Yankees in usual Clint Frazier form as his immaturity shines through yet again. Some ex-Yankees are not taking it lightly.

Pitcher Jeff Nelson has been one of the most outspoken:

“Here is something for you,” Nelson tweeted. “You can talk the talk but, you have not walked the walk. Love the confidence but, you have to do something on the field.” “Don’t talk s–t about the Yankees when they gave him a chance so, screw you,” Nelson tweeted.

Pitcher CC Sabathia chimed in: 

“If I see another Clint Frazier story, bro, I’m gonna punch somebody in the f–king face,” he said on the R2C2 Podcast, per Audacy’s John Healy. “S–t is ridiculous. That kid played 15 games in the f–king big leagues. Get the f–k out of here with all these stupid ass f–king stories.”

Seiyu Suzuki suggests no-no to the Red Sox via social media

The New York Yankees have been reportedly aggressive in their pursuit of Japanese stud outfielder Seiyu Suzuki. After the lockout is resolved, it is assumed that Brian Cashman will continue that pursuit. Last season the start outfielder had a Suzuki posted a .317 batting average with 38 homers and 88 RBIs, striking out 89 times over 439 at-bats. If the Yankees can land the right-fielder, it could solve two problems for the team. They could move star Aaron Judge to center where he played flawlessly last season, sometimes replacing the ill Aaron Hicks, and put Suzuki in right.

The Yankees were not the only team in hot pursuit of the star; the Boston Red Sox and the Toronto Blue Jays were also aggressive. But in a bit of good news for the Yankees is that Suzuki apparently has scrubbed the Red Sox off his list of teams he might be interested in playing for. He un-followed the Red Sox on social media.

Ex-Yankee Mike Tauchman Korea bound

Many New York Yankee fans were sorry to see lefty Mike Tauchman leave the Yankees. Last season he played only eleven games for the Yankees when they traded him to the San Francisco Giants. He played in only 64 games with the Giants with a .186 batting average. Now a free agent, he has signed with the Hanwha Eagles of the Korea Baseball Organization, receiving a $300K signing bonus and salary of $700K for a total of $1 million. Hopefully, the outfielder can savage his career overseas.

Aaron Hicks is healthy and reported ready for 2022

Reportedly center fielder Aaron Hicks is healthy and ready to take his place on the field. On the upside, he played winter ball in the Dominican, which is now over. He got off to a slow start but heated up near the end of the season. With the Leones del Escogido he played in twelve games, hitting 4 home runs and batting .265.

The big question with Hicks is if he can stay healthy. History has proven that when he can stay on the field for any time, his hitting improves. However, the Yankees are not counting on him staying healthy. After the lockout is resolved, the Yankees may look to replace him, making him a bench player.

Rob Brantly to be number 3 backstop

The Yankees have re-signed catcher Rob Brantly to a minor league contract. Brantly played six games for the Yankees during the 2021 season, collecting three hits in 21 at-bats. Most of Brantly’s playing time last season came with Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, where he hit .289 in 68 games. By signing Brantly, the Yankees will gain depth in triple -A and a third option at the Stadium, after Gary Sanchez and Kyle Higashioka.

Yankees among the teams that re-invest small amounts back into the team

One big question for Yankee fans, is after the lockout is over, will the Yankees spend the necessary money to improve the team for 2022? The Yankees in the last few years have been among the teams that have spent the least of their revenues to re-invest in their team. In 2018 they spent just 29.5 and only 33% of revenues for payroll enhancement in the last reporting year, 2019. 

The Yankees have some pretty big holes to fill, notably getting a shortstop to play in place of Gleyber Torres that has been moved to second base. Many of the best options are already gone. They also need a valid number two starting pitcher to follow Gerrit Cole. Add to that they need help in center field and also have decisions to make at first base. Both owner Hal Steinbrenner and GM Brian Cashman have indicated that they are willing to spend, but as of this point have done nothing.

Yankees News: Star Japanese free agent shuns the Red Sox, former Yankee signs with Korean team

Seiya Suzuki, yankees

The New York Yankees were recently listed as an aggressive player in the sweepstakes for Japanese stud outfielder Seiyu Suzuki. General manager Brian Cashman was rather quiet before the lockout, but it is possible he comes out guns blazing once things return to normal. The expectation is that Suzuki will be one of their primary targets after a stellar season with Hiroshima in the Japanese League.

Suzuki posted a .317 batting average with 38 homers and 88 RBIs, striking out 89 times over 439 at-bats. He’s primarily a right fielder, which could force Aaron Judge to transition to centerfield, a spot he played flawlessly during the 2020–21 season with the absence of Aaron Hicks.

At this point, relying on Hicks to be an everyday option in the outfield may be a bit optimistic given his injury history. If the Bombers are willing to replace him as a starter and relegate him to second-team duties, they could get a bit more value out of his seven-year, $70 million contract.

Suzuki has incredible power as a lefty, showcasing quick hands and a smooth swing. Featuring him as one of their slugging outfielders would likely produce stellar results. The Yankees have had great success in the past utilizing Japanese talent, notably Hideki Matsui, Masahiro Tanaka, and even Ichiro Suzuki.

The expectation is that Suzuki will cost about $55 million over five years, but he could earn a bit more if teams begin a bidding war. Luckily for the Yanks, Suzuki unfollowed the Boston Red Sox on social media, throwing a bit of shade toward one of the “aggressive” teams targeting him post-lockout.

One former Yankee is heading overseas to play in the Korean league:

Former fan-favorite Mike Tauchman signed a new deal with a Hanwha Eagles of the Korean Baseball Organization, receiving a $300K signing bonus and salary of $700K for a total of $1 million. After being selected in the 10th round of the 2013 draft, Tauchman served a major purpose for the Yankees before Covid struck. With his flexibility in the outfield and adequate contact-hitting qualities, he will make the move across the ocean to cash in one last time.