Red Sox

3 things to know about Red Sox free-agent target Seiya Suzuki

A report from Yahoo! Japan suggests the Sox might be the favorite to sign Suzuki as soon as the MLB lockout lifts.

Seiya Suzuki Red Sox
Seiya Suzuki. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum, File)

The Red Sox could use some outfield help and power after trading away Hunter Renfroe and his 31 home runs after the end of the 2021 season.

Turns out, they might be getting ready to make a splash in order to get it.

A report from Yahoo! Japan this week says the Red Sox could be the front-runners to land Japanese star Seiya Suzuki to a free-agent deal, and the team might reach an agreement with the outfielder when the MLB lockout lifts.

Previous updates suggested the Red Sox were among three American League East teams, including the Toronto Blue Jays and New York Yankees, vying for Suzuki’s services before the lockout shut down operations. This latest news also seems to conflict with another report this week stating the Red Sox weren’t on Suzuki’s short list of teams.


Which angle is true won’t be known until the baseball work stoppage ends. But if nothing else, the slugger would seem to fit a big current need in Boston.

He’s a heavy hitter.

The 27-year-old outfielder is a lifetime .309/.402/.943 hitter with 189 home runs and 621 RBIs and has earned five All-Star nods and three Gold Gloves over nine pro seasons in Japan.

Last year, Suzuki hit .317 with a career-high 38 home runs and 88 RBIs in 134 games with the Hiroshima Toyo Carp of the Nippon Professional Baseball league.

His right-handed power, assuming it follows him to the states, would fit well with Fenway Park’s short left-field porch. He’s hit no fewer than 25 home runs in his last six seasons, so his power tool appears to be well-developed.

He improves the outfield depth.

His arrival could also greatly improve the outfield defensively, which would be welcome after the team struggled with errors last season. Renfroe led all MLB outfielders with 12 errors, with Verdugo and Hernandez each committing four errors of their own in the outfield.

Adding the versatile Suzuki in right field would allow the left-handed Verdugo to shift to left field, which might be a more natural position, and leave Gold-Glover Jackie Bradley Jr. and Kiké Hernandez to platoon in center. Suzuki has experience at the other spots, though, which means he could spell players at other spots on their off-days.


A late-inning outfield lineup of Verdugo in left, Bradley Jr. in center, and Suzuki in right would be more solid defensively than anything the Sox had last season.

A lot has to happen before Boston signs him.

Before Sox fans can dream big, though, the MLB and MLBPA have to come to an agreement to end their labor dispute. No such deal has been made, but the two sides reportedly made significant progress to that effect this week, according to reports. On top of that, the Red Sox might still face competition for the highly sought-after star, including some pushes from within their division.

If Boston does lock Suzuki in, they’ll have to pay the Carp “posting” fees on top of the contract they sign the outfielder to. Essentially, the Sox would have to send the Carp percentages of the earnings on his first contract: 20 percent of the first $25 million on his contract, 17.5 percent of his next $25 million, and 15 percent of any remaining money.

If he’s as good as they hope, the wait and extra expenses might be worth the wait.


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