Rumor: SF Giants remain interested in star NPB outfielder

United States v Japan - Baseball Gold Medal Game - Olympics: Day 15
United States v Japan - Baseball Gold Medal Game - Olympics: Day 15 / Yuichi Masuda/GettyImages

Rumors have been few and far between but an occasional whisper has made it to the surface since the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) expired. One whisper comes from Andrew Baggarly of The Athletic who reports (subscription required) that the SF Giants remain interested in star Nippon Professional Baseball (NBP) star outfielder Seiya Suzuki.

Rumor: SF Giants remain interested in star NPB outfielder

Prior to the lockout, the Giants were said to be looking for a right-handed-hitting outfielder and were tied to Nicholas Castellanos. They were also connected to Suzuki and will likely kick the tires on Kris Bryant when his market develops. This is all to say that they will be casting a wide net to add another right-handed when a new CBA is ratified.

Suzuki had an excellent campaign in 2021, registering a .317/.433/.636 line with 38 home runs, 88 RBI, and 77 runs scored in 538 plate appearances. This includes a 16 percent walk rate against a 16 percent strikeout rate, so he has good bat-to-ball skills and a disciplined approach to go along with tremendous power.

In nine seasons in the NPB, Suzuki has slashed .309/.402/.541 so he was a much more efficient hitter in 2021 compared to his career norms but this is meant to highlight the fact that he has been a very valuable hitter throughout his NPB career.

The Hiroshima Toya Carp posted Suzuki just before the lockout went into effect. Typically, teams have 30 days a negotiate a contract for a posted player but that 30-day window is on hold for now. Teams will have approximately 20 days remaining to talk with Suzuki and his representatives once the lockout is over.

As currently constructed, the Giants' outfield contingent include Mike Yastrzemski, Darin Ruf, LaMonte Wade Jr., Steven Duggar, and Austin Slater. There is room for improvement as the Giants struggled to get consistent production from the outfield unit, especially in left field where they struggled to the tune of a .689 OPS in 2021.

Their interest in Suzuki makes a lot of sense as he would immediately improve the outfield and be someone who can be slotted into the middle of the lineup. Plus, it is likely that Suzuki's can be reeled in on a more cost-effective contract compared to Castellanos or Bryant. The Giants still have the financial wherewithal to make one more big move before the season begins and Suzuki checks off a lot of boxes for them.