Seiya Suzuki agrees to deal with Cubs

Hiroshima Carp star outfielder Seiya Suzuki has agreed to a five-year, $70 million (8.3 billion yen) contract with the Chicago Cubs, US sports network ESPN reported, citing a source.

Suzuki, 27, one of Japan’s top players, was free to negotiate with any MLB team after being affected by the Carp in November. Normally a 30-day process, negotiations were halted when MLB initiated a labor dispute by excluding players when its labor agreement expired Nov. 30.

Suzuki was free to resume negotiations when MLB and its players agreed to a new collective bargaining agreement last Thursday.

Suzuki hit a career-high 38 home runs in 2021 and led the Central League in batting average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage and assists from the field.

He won six consecutive CL Best Nine awards in the playoffs and five Gold Gloves.

The deal includes a display fee at Carp, which under the announced terms of the contract would be $14.625 million.

Suzuki’s salary is said to be the highest of any non-pitcher in Japan and only trails pitcher Masahiro Tanaka’s $155 million contract with the New York Yankees in 2014.

In addition to an outfield role, Suzuki could be in position to be the Cubs’ designated hitter as the DH rule will be implemented in the National League as part of the new contract.

The Cubs missed the playoffs last year for just the second time in seven seasons with a 71-91 record, their worst campaign since 2013.

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