In typical Philadelphia Phillies fashion, we’re kicking off the first weekend of the new year with some disappointment.
New year, new Phillies? Not so much, it would seem.
Seiya Suzuki, the Japanese star who would be an excellent fit for the Phillies, just made it sound like he’s going to be the next member of the Boston Red Sox.
In a conversation with former Red Sox World Series champion closer Koji Uehara, Suzuki really made it sound like he was shipping up to Boston.
The 27-year-old outfielder is a serious talent. Over 2000+ plate appearances dating back to 2018, Suzuki is hitting .319/.435/.592. He also just helped Japan beat Team USA for the gold medal in the Olympics.
Why would Seiya Suzuki choose the Red Sox over the Phillies?
It makes sense that a Japanese player would choose to go to an organization with a long, successful track record of helping Japanese stars acclimate and thrive in the Majors. The Sox have a long history of signing Japanese players, including Uehara, Daisuke Matsuzaka, Hideo Nomo, and currently, Hirokazu Sawamura, whom they signed last offseason.
And Japanese players have experienced immense success in Boston. In 2001, Nomo became the first Japanese pitcher in MLB history to throw a no-hitter in both the AL and NL (he’d thrown one as a Dodger in 1996), when he threw the only no-hitter in Oriole Park at Camden Yards history.
Between the 2007 and 2013 World Series, four Japanese players won World Series rings with the Sox. In 2013, Uehara made the final out of the World Series, clinching Boston’s first championship at Fenway Park since 1918.
Meanwhile, Tadahito Iguchi and So Taguchi are the only two Japanese players in Phillies history, and their time in Philadelphia was brief. Both played on the 2008 championship team and therefore, received rings, though neither actually appeared in the World Series.
How does the MLB lockout impact Seiya Suzuki?
While a few MLB players have already signed with foreign leagues during the lockout – including former Phillies infielder Freddy Galvis – everyone else is trapped in limbo.
Due to the lockout, the typical 30-day posting window for a player from Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball league is paused.
Will the Phillies sign Seiya Suzuki or Kyle Schwarber
The good news for Phillies fans is that if the Sox are signing Suzuki, it means they’re likely out on Kyle Schwarber, who has been linked to the Phillies a lot over the last two months.
Schwarber was reportedly close to signing with the Phillies before the lockout, but the deal didn’t get done in time. The slugger loved his brief time in Boston and made it clear that he’d be very open to returning, but if the Sox add Suzuki, there really isn’t room for him, which clears a path for the Phillies to swoop in and add a formidable bat.