Chicago Cubs, Seiya Suzuki agree to 5-year, $85M deal, source confirms

The Chicago Cubs have agreed to a five-year, $85 million contract with star Japanese outfielder Seiya Suzuki, a source confirmed to ESPN on Wednesday.

Suzuki met with the Cubs' front office and team chairman Tom Ricketts on Monday night before agreeing to the deal, the source said.

It's the highest salary for a Japanese position player coming to Major League Baseball and the second largest behind pitcher Masahiro Tanaka's $155 million contract with the New York Yankees in 2014.

The 27-year-old Suzuki joins the Cubs after playing nine seasons for the Hiroshima Toyo Carp in Nippon Professional Baseball. He hit .319 with 38 homers and 88 RBIs in 2021 and has a .315 career average with 182 homers and 562 RBIs.

"The player has a unique skill set that has value in MLB," said Cubs manager David Ross, before the deal was officially announced. "A lot of teams are after him. The fact that our name is at the top of the rumor mill is exciting."

"We're going to add as much talent in this organization as we possibly can because that's what winning organizations have."

The Athletic was first to report financial terms of Suzuki's deal.

Suzuki won the 2019 Central League batting title, is a four-time All-Star and is a three-time Gold Glove winner. He also won Japan's home run derby in 2019.

His rights were originally posted by Hiroshima on Nov. 22, but bidding for his services had been paused by the lockout.

Suzuki plays right field, a position five-time Gold Glove winner Jason Heyward has manned for the Cubs since signing a $184 million, eight-year contract before the 2016 World Series championship season.

The Cubs also have Ian Happ, Clint Frazier and Rafael Ortega in the outfield, with prized prospect Brennen Davis in the system. The advent of the designated hitter in the National League gives Ross more flexibility.

The Cubs are looking to regroup after finishing fourth in the NL Central at 71-91 in 2021 and missing the playoffs for the second time in three years. They traded ace Yu Darvish to the Padres before last season, then dealt championship core players Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo and Javier Baez once the team went into a slump after a strong start.

Information from ESPN's Jesse Rogers and The Associated Press was used in this report.