Braves: Here’s why Seiya Suzuki to Atlanta feels unlikely

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About a month ago, the Braves were reported to be a top suitor for Japanese outfielder Seiya Suzuki. Rightfully, fans were giddy with excitement. Suzuki already has nine years of professional experience under his belt, slashing 309/.402/.542 over his career in the NPB (Japan’s professional baseball league). And on top of that, some scouts are even comparing him to… Ronald Acuna…

Yeah, count me in. I’m all for bringing the Japanese version of Ronald Acuna to Atlanta. But unfortunately, a couple of things have happened since this initial report that make me believe it’s unlikely he ever ends up calling Atlanta his home.

First and foremost, a little over a week from the initial Suzuki news, a bombshell was dropped on Braves Country. Marcell Ozuna, whose future in the MLB seemed cloudy, was cleared to play immediately following MLB’s investigation of his domestic violence dispute from back in May. That surely threw a wrench in the Braves’ plans, and as much as some people might not like it, I believe Ozuna will be playing in Atlanta next season. It will probably be impossible for Anthopoulos to find a favorable trade involving him, and I highly doubt they would even consider eating the remaining $53 million left on his contract.

The second thing that has me questioning a potential deal with Suzuki is his price tag. When this news officially broke, I had no idea what kind of contract he might be looking for from a major-league team. Typically, Japanese signings are reasonable, so I was all for it, but it looks like Suzuki could be eyeing something upwards of $100 million.

That’s just typically not a number the Braves are willing to eclipse. Since Alex Anthopoulos took over as GM, the only $100 million contract signed has been by Ronald Acuna, which was for ten years and is widely considered the biggest bargain in all of baseball. That doesn’t mean the Braves won’t hand out a contract for more than $100 million this offseason, but you have to think that if they do, it will be to their franchise cornerstone, Freddie Freeman.

Simply put, unless payroll skyrockets, the Braves can’t even come close to affording Ozuna, Freeman, and Suzuki. And as much as I would love to have Japan’s next superstar in Atlanta, I would much rather retain Freeman, who remains the Braves’ top priority.

 

 

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