Conflicting reports are not the exclusive province of stateside rumor mills!
This morning, we discussed a Nikkan Sports report out of Japan that had the Chicago Cubs among four likely finalists for Japanese slugger Seiya Suzuki, who will be free to sign with an MLB team when the lockout ends. The other three named teams were the Mariners, Padres, and Giants, with the Red Sox and Yankees seeming to be pushed aside (caveat: Google translate gets you only so far).
But a different report out of Japan, this one from Daily Japan, suggests that not only should the Red Sox not be pushed aside in these rumors, but they are actually the heavy favorites to sign Suzuki as soon as the lockout ends. Again, machine-based translations are always going to be a little wonky, but the way the report reads, there are a lot of insiders who think it’s already a done deal that Suzuki will sign with Boston, even as Suzuki says he hasn’t made a decision yet.
So how is it that one report lists four finalists, none of which is Boston, while another simultaneous report has Boston as the prohibitive favorite? I don’t actually know! I mean, it’s not THAT uncommon in stateside reporting to see wholly conflicting reports like this, and we usually conclude in those situations either that someone has been fed bad information (maybe Suzuki’s camp was simply trying to up Boston’s price?), or everything is simply less certain than either report suggests (maybe Suzuki doesn’t quite have four finalists, and instead all of the Cubs, Red Sox, Mariners, Padres, and Giants are still in the mix, pending visits and negotiations when the lockout ends).
My gut says, prior to the lockout (and maybe a little during), Suzuki developed a list of teams he preferred to keep considering after the lockout – cutting it down from the 10+ teams that reportedly expressed interest initially – and among those, say, five or six teams, maybe he does have a favorite among the favorites. And maybe that team is the Boston Red Sox. So you wouldn’t call it a done deal, necessarily, but on the whole, considering the Red Sox report and the geographic considerations for the other teams, you probably don’t love the Cubs’ chances.
We’ll just have to keep our eyes on this one, because I would think Suzuki is going to be pursued VERY AGGRESSIVELY as soon as the lockout ends, with some teams preferring to know where he’s going before they move on to other options (he’s only 27, he is attached to no draft pick compensation, he is a true quality defensive right fielder, etc.).