I *love* hearing about the under-the-hood stuff when it comes to MLB transactions. So much of it goes generally how you think, but the specifics – what does a conversation actually look like? who texts whom? how do you actually present an offer? what counts as an “offer” anyway? – are endlessly fascinating. If you are a huge baseball nerd, anyway. Which I am.
To that end, I was hoping we would get a look behind-the-scenes on the whole Seiya Suzuki posting period, courting process, the lockout, and how the Cubs eventually pulled off the signing. And we did get that look! Three times over!
A trio of great reads:
— Meghan Montemurro (@M_Montemurro) March 20, 2022
The story behind why Japanese star Seiya Suzuki signed a five-year, $85 million contract with the Cubs.
— Chicago Sun-Times (@Suntimes) March 19, 2022
"Don't forget about us. We will be waiting."
A behind-the-scenes look at how the Cubs recruited slugger Seiya Suzuki and convinced him to come to Chicago.
— Jordan Bastian (@MLBastian) March 19, 2022
Among the things I enjoyed:
⇒ Teams got a one hour Zoom meeting to chat with Suzuki before the lockout, but the Cubs detected he would not sign before the lockout, so they did not try to get him to sign at that time. Instead, at 10pm the night before the lockout kicked in – which was only shortly after Marcus Stroman’s deal was finalized and he was being introduced to the media – Jed Hoyer called Suzuki’s agent to say only, “Don’t forget about us. We’ll be waiting for you on the other side.”
⇒ The Cubs used the lockout to really drill down on everything they could possibly want to share with Suzuki when they were able to make a presentation again. These types of write-ups are always a little fluffy, but it really does seem like Suzuki was always priority 1A for the Cubs this offseason.
⇒ THE meeting – the one we heard about last week and obsessed over (well, I did, anyway) – was Hoyer, David Ross, Tom Ricketts, Suzuki, and Suzuki’s agent, Joel Wolfe. It went well enough that, after the Cubs made their official offer, Suzuki instructed Wolfe to cancel his other meetings and present a counter to the Cubs. The Cubs considered that counter on their flight back to Arizona, and then the deal got done at about 1:30am.
⇒ HOWEVER, remember that lag between when reporters indicated the agreement was in place, but it took several days to actually be confirmed by the team? That was at least in part because Suzuki wanted to take a trip to Chicago to see the city and Wrigley Field before everything was finalized. So that happened in secret on Tuesday night (thankfully it got to 65 degrees that day):
— Taylor McGregor (@Taylor_McGregor) March 19, 2022
⇒ Bonus props to former Cub Yu Darvish who no doubt wanted Suzuki to sign with the Padres, but more than that just wanted Suzuki to be happy and comfortable. So when he was asked about his time in Chicago, Darvish was just honest about the city and the fans and the organization (must’ve been good things).