What will the "next great Cubs team" look like?
If it shows up in the next five years, we at least know what right field will look like, with the five-year, $85 million deal with Seiya Suzuki underscoring everything team president Jed Hoyer has said about how he plans to build his roster.
"We want to build a team that we believe can compete," Hoyer said Monday, adding, "I think it's undeniable that we are going to have an eye on the future."
Hoyer has said some version of that numerous times since taking over as team president for Theo Epstein 16 months ago, and Suzuki is the definition of that vision.
He's a player who helps the team compete now and is also young enough to project as a productive veteran during the duration of the contract.
That could fit the projected developmental timeline of the top prospects in the Cubs' system, who are a couple years away from the major leagues.
Suzuki, 27, is a five-tool player who's spent his entire pro career with the Hiroshima Toyo Carp of Japan's Nippon Professional Baseball.
The five-time All-Star hit .317/.433/.639 with a career-high 38 home runs and 88 RBIs in 2021, also taking home his fifth Gold Glove award.
In signing him, the Cubs have now added the best defensive, everyday outfielder, and the best defensive infielder in Andrelton Simmons, left on the market post-lockout.
Those additions will certainly help the team's run prevention in 2022, especially considering the Cubs moved on from Gold Glovers Javy Báez and Anthony Rizzo in the last eight months.
And though Suzuki has played in a lower league than MLB, the signing is not unlike what a potential Carlos Correa addition — which Hoyer threw cold water on this week — would have meant for the Cubs. Both are 27 years old and Gold Glove fielders with good track records at the plate.
In many eyes, adding Correa would have been with the future in mind while also helping the Cubs compete in 2022. His deal would have been at least five years and perhaps as long as 10.
Suzuki is entering his traditional prime years. In the short term, he projects as an impact bat who manager David Ross can slot in the middle of his lineup.
A few years down the road, he could be a building block on that next great Cubs team.