Dodgers should pursue Japanese star after rumored contract details emerge

YOKOHAMA, JAPAN - AUGUST 07: Outfielder Seiya Suzuki #51 of Team Japan (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)
YOKOHAMA, JAPAN - AUGUST 07: Outfielder Seiya Suzuki #51 of Team Japan (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images) /

The Los Angeles Dodgers are no strangers to the international market and have imported plenty of talent over the years, especially from South Korea and Japan.

Some of those names include Hyun-Jin Ryu, Chan Ho Park, Hiroki Kuroda and Hideo Nomo — all of whom were pitchers. How about a slugger this time around?

It’s unclear how interested (if, at all) the Dodgers are in Japanese outfielder Seiya Suzuki, but at the rumored price, perhaps Andrew Friedman and Co. are considering a bit of an offseason pivot. Yes, the outfield is “set” with Mookie Betts, Cody Bellinger and AJ Pollock, but what about beyond 2022? Will Bellinger get a long-term deal? Will Pollock be here? Wait, who even is this team’s fourth outfielder?

That’s why Suzuki should be given a look. According to reports, the 27-year-old was posted by his Japanese club on Monday morning, which now gives MLB teams a chance to bring him aboard. It’ll cost a posting fee (the cost of that is unclear) and a three- to five-year deal in the $7-$10 million per season range.

Dodgers Rumors: Is Seiya Suzuki a realistic target for LA?

Yes, the Dodgers’ 40-man roster is full at the moment, but that won’t deter them from making additional impact moves. And Suzuki, at this current price, with LA closest to his native Japan, could be a worthwhile match for the Dodgers.

Will his skills fully translate to MLB? That’s always the paramount question. However, his production in Nippon Professional Baseball cannot be discounted. He turned pro in 2013 as an 18-year-old and has since hit .315 with a .985 OPS in 901 games. That includes 182 home runs, 562 RBI and 82 stolen bases with the Hiroshima Carp.

The Dodgers always find reps for productive fourth outfielders. We saw it as recently as Joc Pederson and Kiké Hernandez, and that was with a surplus of talented players. Now, with the Dodgers’ depth lacking, why wouldn’t they make room for a player of Suzuki’s caliber and price, especially since the CBA talks could bring the DH to the NL?

Additionally, a deal in the three- to five-year range would effectively lock up Suzuki for the remainder of his prime and very much keep the righty slugger in line with the Dodgers’ window of contention.

With so many holes to fill and a lot of money to spend in order to keep in-house free agents or bring in others, Suzuki’s addition could be an underrated cost-effective move that’s seemingly right up Friedman’s alley.