6:41pm: Suzuki and his reps are expected to meet with Cubs brass tonight, reports Sahadev Sharma of the Athletic (Twitter link).
4:45pm: Suzuki himself shot down rumors of a decision having been made, via Instagram story. “There are several reports that I’ve made my decision, but none of that is true,” writes Suzuki.
2:28pm: Suzuki has not chosen a team yet, according to Dylan Hernandez of the L.A. Times, who says six to seven teams remain under consideration. Jon Heyman of MLB Network names the Padres, Dodgers, Red Sox, Giants, Mariners, and Cubs as some of the teams still involved.
TODAY, 1:43pm: “It appears Seiya Suzuki’s decision is not far away,” tweets Acee.
YESTERDAY, 11:53pm: The Padres are known to be making a push for Seiya Suzuki, and the outfielder worked out in front of Padres executives at Petco Park this weekend, The Athletic’s Dennis Lin reports (Twitter link). Suzuki’s time in San Diego also included a visit with Padres righty Yu Darvish and Darvish’s family.
Now that the lockout is over, Suzuki is finally free to partake in normal free-agent recruitment tours, which are particularly key for players coming to Major League Baseball for the first time. Lin notes that it isn’t known if Suzuki visited any other teams this weekend or what his other travel plans may entail, though given the number of teams interested in Suzuki, he could have quite a few stops to make before his posting period is up. Suzuki now has 17 of his 30 posting days remaining, as the lockout interrupted this process and kept Suzuki from any contract with big league clubs.
Suzuki has seemingly become an increasingly important figure in the Padres’ roster-building efforts, as Kevin Acee of The San Diego Union-Tribune said earlier today that obtaining Suzuki was part of a “Plan A” scenario for the team. That outline included signing Suzuki and Nelson Cruz, and then trading one of Eric Hosmer or Wil Myers to open up payroll space, though one element of that plan has now been scuttled since Cruz signed with the Nationals.
With Cruz now off the board, it could only intensify the Padres’ pursuit of Suzuki. Since Cruz is limited to DH duty, adding Suzuki would arguably be a better fit for San Diego anyway given the team’s needs in the outfield. Suzuki could be easily slotted right into the Padres’ right field spot, as Myers (if he isn’t traded) could be moved across the grass to fill San Diego’s left field vacancy.