Yankees could be in mix for Japanese star Seiya Suzuki

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Seiya Suzuki with Team Japan in Olympics
Seiya Suzuki with Team Japan in Olympics

He doesn't pitch like Shohei Ohtani, but there is another offensive superstar on his way from Japan.

Seiya Suzuki was posted by his club in Japan -- the Hiroshima Carp -- on Nov. 22, leaving a 30-day window for teams to sign him. Of course, those 30 days have become, well, we don't know yet, because of the lockout. But whenever the lockout is over, clubs will have 20 days to sign him.

Teams have not been able to speak to the 27-year-old since Dec. 1. Make no mistake, though, he's highly sought out -- and deservedly so. And the Yankees are "expected to be in the mix," according to The Athletic.

Suzuki just won his fifth Gold Glove Award in right field last season, slashed .319/.436/.644 with 38 homers, and has more walks (262) than strikeouts (240) in his last three seasons.

He became a national hero, winning Olympic gold in his home country in 2021, and he expects more of the same in the United States.

"I want to be the top of the top," he told The Athletic, adding that he looks up to Mike Trout, and wants to achieve his success.

"That's where I want to get to someday," he said.

The Yankees need an outfielder, preferably a center fielder, badly. Aaron Hicks' injury status is always up in the air, and Brett Gardner will turn 39 in August (are we silly to assume he'll sign a one-year deal again?).

Aaron Judge is a Gold Glove-caliber right fielder, as is Joey Gallo, who mostly played left field with the Yankees last season. He'll probably stay put there. The Yankees also found out last season that Giancarlo Stanton can still play the outfield on a limited basis. How he'd look over 162 games remains to be seen, but they can probably work something out.

Oh, and Judge spent his fair share in center field out of necessity toward the end of last year, and seemed comfortable.

The Yankees have not signed a Japanese free agent since Masahiro Tanaka before the 2014 offseason. Their last position player out of Japan was Hideki Matsui. Both of those signings turned out pretty well.

And Japan wasn't lying about Ohtani, either.

Maybe a right-handed, power-hitting right fielder isn't exactly what the Yankees need (they have two of those), but the Yankees are in limbo positionally and are in need of a superstar and a big splash.

Suzuki is staying quiet on his preferences, but it'd be foolish for the Yanks to not be interested in this new potential phenom.