The Chicago Cubs have reportedly landed the biggest international star on this year’s free-agency market.
Suzuki recorded 38 home runs, 88 RBIs and just one fewer walk than strikeouts (88 and 89, respectively) during the 2021 season for the Hiroshima Toyo Carp of the Central League in Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB). Primarily an outfielder, Suzuki is a four-time NPB All-Star, five-time winner of the NPB Best Nine Award and earned three Mitsui Gold Glove awards as well.
The 27-year-old bats and throws right-handed and has racked up 182 home runs, 562 RBIs, 937 hits and a .315/.414/.570 slash line over 902 games in nine NPB seasons. Suzuki helped team Japan earned the gold medal at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
After the conclusion of the 2021 NPB season, Suzuki was posted by Hiroshima in late November and made available to all 30 MLB teams, opening a 30-day contract negotiation period. That 30-day window was paused, though, due to the nearly 100-day lockout.
The Cubs have had a busy offseason, as they hired general manager Carter Hawkins in October and extended manager David Ross’ contract through the 2024 season last week. The team has also been reported to be “among the favorites” to sign two-time All-Star shortstop Carlos Correa.