The last time the Dodgers tried to recruit and sign a Japanese star player they came out swinging yet they struck out. They missed out on a once-in-a-generation talent in Shohei Ohtani as he made his way down the 5 in Orange County with the Angels.
This time around the Dodgers are hoping for better luck as a new star from Japan hit the market for MLB teams to try and sign. Outfielder Seiya Suzuki was posted this Monday and will be available for all 30 MLB teams to bid on him. According to am570LASports host David Vassegh, Los Angeles has shown some interest in the 27-year old star. Former Dodgers Mike Scioscia who managed against Suzuki in the 2021 Olympics noted that he sees his power translating into MLB and has a “tremendous throwing arm from Right Field.”
#Dodgers have shown interest in Japanese OF, Seiya Suzuki who will be posted today. @USABaseball Manager, Mike Scioscia managed vs Suzuki in Olympics. He believes Seiya Suzuki will hit with power in MLB and has “Tremendous throwing arm from Right Field” #HotStove
— David Vassegh (@THEREAL_DV) November 22, 2021
Suzuki has spent 9 seasons in Japan’s Central League with the Hiroshima Toyo Carp where he has a career .315 batting average with 182 home runs and 562 RBI. He has also been a 4-time All-Star, a 3-time Gold Glove winner, won a batting title in 2019, and was also the Home Run Derby Champion in that year. He’s gotten comparisons to current Braves star Ronald Acuña Jr. and his explosiveness on the field.
The Dodgers are set in right field with Mookie Betts so if the Dodgers were to sign Suzuki, they’d have to convince him to slide over elsewhere in the outfield. Cody Bellinger should be back in center field so long as he builds off of his strong playoff performance. LA could seemingly use him in a left-field along with AJ Pollock or could move Pollock in a trade and hand Suzuki the job.
Suzuki has appeared at shortstop and third base during his career, but not nearly enough as he has in the outfield. Notably, there is the expectation that the universal DH will be implemented for the 2022 season, which would offer LA more flexibility with their outfielders.
It will be interesting to see how much the Dodgers pursue him and how they envision utilizing him. The Japanese outfielder has until December 22 to sign with a team, but that could all change with a new CBA on the horizon.