The short answer is yes. The SF Giants have frequently been connected to star Japanese outfielder Seiya Suzuki, who has been posted by the Hiroshima Carp of the Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) league. When baseball agrees to a new Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA), Suzuki will have 20 days remaining in his posting window.
Does adding Seiya Suzuki preclude the SF Giants from a Kris Bryant reunion?
The hot stove is ice cold, but a rumor lit up the stove as Peter Gammons reported that the Giants are considered the favorites to land the power-hitting outfield. If the Giants happen end up with Suzuki, what does that mean for Kris Bryant?
The Giants traded for the longtime Chicago Cubs third baseman in exchange for prospects Caleb Kilian and Alexander Canario just minutes before the trade deadline in July. Bryant slashed .262/.344/.444 (113 OPS+) with seven home runs and 22 RBI in the final two months of the season.
The 30-year-old has spent much of his career at the hot corner, but the Giants used him primarily in the outfield, including center field, down the stretch. He appeared in 51 games with the Giants, including 30 appearances in the outfield.
The Giants have surveyed the market for an outfielder this offseason and there are still plenty of options available such as Suzuki, Bryant, and Nicholas Castellanos. They are targeting an outfielder because that is their biggest need in the lineup.
The infield is relatively set for 2022 as Brandon Belt (first base), Tommy La Stella (second base), Brandon Crawford (shortstop), and Evan Longoria (second base) will likely see the bulk of the playing at their respective positions. Thairo Estrada and Mauricio Dubón will compete for playing time for a utility role.
There is an opportunity for the Giants to bring in an experienced, right-handed-hitting middle infielder to give both Crawford and La Stella time off. That said, it is likely in more of a niche role, rather than one that could result in over 400 plate appearances.
So, if the Giants were to sign Suzuki, it would create the type of roster jam that would likely prevent them from pursuing a reunion with Bryant. With Suzuki, the Giants would have a total of six outfielders that includes Darin Ruf, Austin Slater, LaMonte Wade Jr., Steven Duggar, and Mike Yastrzemski. This is in addition to the infield contingent that is set for the most part.
This is all to say that there likely would not be enough playing time for a player of Bryant's caliber and that type of role would not appeal to the former MVP. Of course, the designated hitter is potentially coming to the National League as soon as 2022. That opens up a spot in the lineup, but teams rarely spend big on a dedicated designated hitter.
Usually it goes to a good hitter who struggles badly with the glove. That is not Bryant at all. He still provides value on defense, especially given the fact that he can move all around the field. So, if the Giants were to reel in Suzuki, he would slot into the outfield while hitting in the middle of the order.
With Suzuki, the Giants get a right-handed bat who has excelled in the NPB. Bryant brings more familiarity as the Giants have seen him up close, but he will land a substantial contract, which the Giants can certainly afford. Money is not the issue here. Rather, it is the role or lack thereof.
That said, they might see Suzuki as a more cost-effective option. Either way, San Francisco will only have room for one on the roster between these two stars.