Ranking the 10 worst contracts in the National League Central
By Greg Simons
No. 8: Seiya Suzuki, $83M remaining
The Cubs looked likely to once again spend little during this offseason. After being competitive for several seasons, including capturing the World Series title in 2016, Chicago sold off most of its good, expensive players at last year’s trade deadline. It looked like a rebuild/reload/retool had begun.
But then the North Siders pivoted. In addition to some other significant expenditures (including another one on this list), they paid nearly $100M for Seiya Suzuki to join them from Nippon Professional Baseball, including nearly $15M for his posting fee.
Suzuki may be a major league rookie, but he was a well-established talent in Japan. Over 3500+ plate appearances with the Hiroshima Carp, he hit .315/.414/.570 with 182 homers during his nine seasons with the team. Starting his career at age 18, Suzuki’s power really developed the last few years, as he hit 25+ long balls every season from 2016 on.
As a five-time NPB All-Star and Golden Glove Award winner, Suzuki brought serious credentials stateside. He started his major league career on fire, including four homers during a nine-game hitting streak that set a new Cubs record. While he has dropped off lately, his overall line still is strong.
So, what’s the risk? Well, he has cooled off after that hot start, and pitchers will get the book on Suzuki before long. How he counters their adjustments will begin to reveal whether he will have a memorable or forgettable MLB career.
Suzuki’s pedigree in Japan looks to have set him up well for success in the United States, and the Cubs were willing to bet nearly nine figures on him becoming a star. So far, things are working out, but there’s a long time for Suzuki to validate Chicago’s investment.