The 27-year-old Japanese superstar, a right fielder on the Hiroshima Toyo Carp of Nippon Professional Baseball, is one of the most dynamic talents expected to be available as a free agent this winter as soon as his team posts him (which is anticipated). And with the Rangers in desperate need of offense, the fit could be perfect.
Texas, of course, has lineage when it comes to NPB, having signed pitchers Yu Darvish and more recently, Kohei Arihara. The Rangers were also interested in pitcher Tomoyuki Sugano last winter they were also in on Shohei Ohtani a few winters ago before he signed with the LA Angels.
Additionally, the team was in on Korean infielder Ha-Seong Kim before he inked a deal with the Padres last winter, further illustrating the Rangers’ strong international ties.
The Texas Rangers’ strong presence on the international market makes them a contender for NPB outfielder Seiya Suzuki
A Seiya Suzuki pursuit, therefore, makes all the sense in the world.
Suzuki is a five time NPB All-Star, posting a lucrative 1.079 OPS and 38 long balls in 131 games for the Carp last season. Think that would be a massively needed upgrade for a Texas Rangers team starved for offense? Jon Morosi explicitly mentioned the Rangers as a fit for the star right fielder in his article for MLB.com:
"The Rangers have close scouting ties with NPB, dating back to their pursuit of Yu Darvish a decade ago. Suzuki’s power would be welcome in a Texas lineup that finished last in the American League in home runs by right-handed batters.”"
In fairness, Texas really needs left-handed hitters to help balance out its righty dominant lineup, but as Morosi correctly points out, the Rangers just need offense, and power especially, all around. It’s a safe bet to assume Suzuki would be helpful in those area.
For years, the Texas Rangers had to face Ichiro Suzuki as a Seattle Mariner. Now, the Rangers have a chance to flip the script and sign a Suzuki of their own.