The Texas Rangers have always been very active in international free agency and that will be no different this year. After signing pitchers Kohei Arihara from the NPB and Heon-Jong Yang from the KBO, the Rangers should pivot and look at a bat. The bat of Seiya Suzuki to be exact.
Seiya Suzuki had another fantastic year in 2021. Through 133 games he hit 38 homers while slashing .319/.436/.640. Oh and he’s only 27. That’s not “just a good season” either. Over the past 6 years, he has hit over .300 in each of them while averaging almost 30 homers a year. There are no signs of him slowing down either. His plate discipline may seem average with the 87 strikeouts but that was more due to his more aggressive approach to hit home runs this year. He’s exhibited above-average zone management since he joined NPB at 18 years old.
Career Numbers (9 years):
- .943 OPS
- 524 walks
- 102 stolen bases
That 9-year NPB career could equate to about 6 years worth of games in the MLB. Meaning his walk rate would only be outdone by the famed Joey Gallo. Suzuki would fill a direct need for an offensively minded outfielder. Outside of Adolis Garcia, the other options seem more like defensive replacements and depth options. Even in the minors, with Bubba Thompson and Steele Walker coming up, the Rangers could use the help. He may not transition those numbers over to the majors but if he could manage 25 homers while batting .275, that would be a solid contribution to the rebuild.
The contract would take to sign him would be manageable as well. It could take a 4-5 year deal in the $10-12 million range. That would put him well cheaper than Castellanos, Taylor, and Conforto. The cheaper part, however, is due to the risk. You never truly know how well someone will adapt when coming from overseas. But this is the best player to come over since Ohtani, so the risk for a rebuilding team is worth it.