With the lockout ending and a new Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) on the books, baseball is back in full swing. The next few weeks are expected to be hectic as free agency resumes and teams look to finalize their rosters for 2022. The SF Giants are quickly emerging as one of the more aggressive teams on the market.
Rumors: SF Giants reportedly circling in on star Japanese outfielder
Of course, the Giants made the first big splash following the lockout by signing longtime Chicago White Sox starter Carlos Rodón to a two-year, $44 million pact. This deal includes an opt-out after the 2022 season.
With the rotation solidified, the Giants turn their attention to the lineup and they continue to be connected to star Japanese outfielder Seiya Suzuki. On Friday, Jon Heyman of MLB Network confirmed that San Francisco is one of five teams to be pursuing Suzuki.
The other potential suitors include the Los Angeles Dodgers, Chicago Cubs, Seattle Mariners, and the Boston Red Sox. Keeping Suzuki away from the Dodgers might be a secondary concern but it is not hard to see how Suzuki could fit onto this year's Giants roster.
After all, the right-handed bat has been one of the best hitters for the Hiroshima Carp of the Nippon Professional Baseball league. His 2021 campaign was arguably his best as he slashed .317/.433/.636 with 38 home runs, 77 runs scored, and 88 RBI in 538 plate appearances.
This included a 16.5 percent strikeout rate against a 16.4 percent walk rate, so he brings a patient approach, good bat-to-ball skills, and enormous power to the table. The home run output (38) and OPS (1.069) represented career highs for the nine-year veteran.
The Giants are in need of a right-handed-hitting outfielder to pair with Austin Slater and Darin Ruf. Adding Suzuki would give them a middle-of-the-order threat while filling an important need.
MLB Trade Rumors is predicting that the 27-year-old outfielder could score a contract for five years and $55 million, meaning that the Giants could easily afford him. Even after signing Carlos Rodón, the Giants' 2022 luxury tax payroll currently sits at $149 million. With the new CBA, the Competitive Balance Tax (CBT) threshold was bumped up to $230 million for next season, so San Francisco has plenty of room to make a move.
Suzuki's 30-day posting window began approximately 10 days before the lockout, so he has 20 days remaining to negotiate with teams. Suzuki and prospective teams will need to act fast because spring training games are beginning next week with regular-season games not far behind.