Chicago Cubs General Manager Jed Hoyer promised that more moves were coming, and he delivered on that promise Wednesday morning. The Cubs have agreed to a five-year, $85 million deal with Japanese outfielder Seiya Suzuki.
This is a move that no one thought was coming, despite the fact that it was clear that Suzuki is exactly the type of player that could fit in with the Cubs. There were several suitors that went after the outfielder, and just last week it appeared that he was heading to the San Diego Padres.
The Cubs held a meeting with Suzuki and his representatives on Monday night and owner Tom Ricketts was involved in that process. In the end, Suzuki chose to sign on the North side, and it’s a clear sign that the Cubs are intending to win again at some point.
This is some serious money for a Japanese position player, but the scouting reports on Suzuki are pretty impressive. Suzuki is viewed as a five-tool player and he should immediately be starting in right field for the Chicago Cubs.
Suzuki is just 27 years old and he has put up some impressive numbers while playing in Japan. He has a career batting average of .315 to go along with 182 home runs and 562 runs batted in.
There is always some risk involved when signing a player from Japan, and the Cubs know that all too well. The Kosuke Fukodome era did not live up to the hype, and it’s understandable to question this signing.
Can the Cubs Compete in 2022?
The reason that this has been an interesting offseason for the Cubs is the fact that it does appear as if they are trying to win in 2022. Hoyer and company have made plenty of signings this offseason, and they haven’t traded off any real assets.
Even though Suzuki fills a pretty clear void in the outfield, it’s hard to see him being a player that pushed the Cubs into a playoff contender. This signing will definitely help, and the Cubs are still going to be playing in one of the worst divisions in baseball.
The Cubs should at least be more competitive now, but don’t expect to see playoff baseball at Wrigley Field unless other big moves are made.
Building For the Future
What this signing does signal is that the Cubs at least believe that they will be competitive within the next 2-3 years. Signing Suzuki for five years and bringing in Marcus Stroman are the type of deals that should allow them to have success in the immediate future.
Remember, the Cubs now have a pretty good farm system in place, and some of that young talent will be able to contribute at the big league level soon as well. As long as Suzuki is able to live up to the hype then the Cubs just signed a potential cornerstone of the franchise.