2. Seiya Suzuki
The Yankees needed another outfielder this offseason. Whether it was was to figure out a way to limit Joey Gallo’s overall poor play, fill in should Aaron Hicks not be the same/still be dealing with injuries, or prepare for Aaron Judge’s possible departure in the offseason, nobody would’ve been outraged if there had been an investment made here.
And there was one for the taking in Seiya Suzuki, who signed a five-year, $85 million contract with the Chicago Cubs. Pretty easy financial pill to swallow. That’s $17 million per season for arguably the best hitter in Japan before he was posted and a share in that market (which the Yankees are familiar with, having signed Masahiro Tanaka to a seven-year contract a while back).
There would’ve been absolutely zero issue finding reps for Suzuki in the outfield given how Gallo’s been underperforming, too. Additionally, if we’re giving Judge a day off already in the first week and a half, why not have some good insurance able to fill in?! Though Suzuki’s only played right field so far for the Cubs, he played all three spots in Japan, so we’re sure his versatility is still going to translate in some capacity.
As for his hitting? Suzuki is batting .429 with a 1.493 OPS, nine runs scored, four homers, 11 RBI, and nine walks in 10 games across his first 39 plate appearances. Literally better than anybody on the Yankees’ roster and he’s smack dab in the middle of a really not great Cubs lineup. His instincts in the batter’s box have quickly transitioned to MLB action while the usual suspects on the Yankees continue to miss strikes and put forth non-competitive at-bats.
And with Judge rejecting that $30.5 million AAV contract? Yeah, would’ve been nice to have Suzuki, at least at the moment.