How Nick Madrigal and Yu Darvish helped sell Seiya Suzuki on the Cubs
MESA, Ariz. — Nick Madrigal was chatting with his agent, Joel Wolfe, recently and Wolfe shared some interesting news.
A few hours after their meeting, Wolfe was meeting with another of his clients — free agent Japanese outfielder, Seiya Suzuki. Madrigal got to work to make a recruiting pitch of his own.
He pulled out a few sheets of notebook paper and began sketching some artwork that would convey his message to the potential Cub.
“Seiya Suzuki + Cubs = World Series,” “COME TO CHICAGO,” read some of the messages. But the jewel of the artwork that Madrigal shared was a sheet of paper that read “Cold weather not bad” with a pair of stick figures labeled “Seiya” and “Nico”. Suzuki’s stick figure had muscles bulging out of his arms.
“I’ve always tried to draw the best pictures I can, but my family makes fun of me for my stick figures,” Madrigal said. “I think it gets the job done, but it needs some work.”
In this case, it did get the job done. Suzuki officially joined the Cubs on a 5-year deal on Friday. Suzuki was introduced to the media Friday afternoon at the Cubs’ complex in Mesa in full Cubs uniform with the number 27 emblazoned on the jersey.
“Mike Trout: I love you,” Suzuki said in English, a quote that elicited laughs from the dozens of reporters present for his press conference.
“I don’t wanna take all the credit, but I think I had a big part to do with that. Nah, I’m just kidding,” Madrigal said with a smile.
Madrigal’s effort was just one of many the Cubs used in their pitch to land the 27-year-old. Cubs Productions produced a video as part of the pitch that the Cubs played for him.
“I was watching the videos at home and I was about to cry,” Suzuki said through translator Toy Matsushita. “Everything was good with what they presented to me and it really took my heart away.”
But Suzuki did his own research, too.
In order to help in his decision-making process, Suzuki reached out to other big league Japanese players like the Reds’ Shogo Akiyama and the Pirates’ Yoshitomo Tsutsugo.
But another big selling point was the ringing endorsement former Cubs pitcher Yu Darvish provided of the franchise and city.
“He told [me] the city was great,” Suzuki said. “They have a really good fanbase. And [I’m] just gonna love it here.”
That, to manager David Ross, spoke volumes to what the Cubs organization is like.
“I don’t know how many times I’ve heard any player that I’ve played with or since I’ve been here talk about this isn’t a good organization and people don’t treat them right,” Ross said. “This is a place that we care about setting players up for success and treating them the right way and communicating with them and doing the best we can to win baseball games, but also understand that there’s other things that players deal with outside of just performance on the field and I think that’s a priority for this organization.”
Ross is thankful for the kind words that Darvish shared to Suzuki.
“We’ll send a couple of bottles of wine that way for Yu,” Ross said with a laugh.
So, what does Madrigal get for his efforts?
“I’m gonna get him some art lessons,” Ross said with a laugh. “Those came through in the middle of the meeting from Joel and we saw those. That gave me a good chuckle.
“It was just nice that the team is trying to get as much talent as we can here and understands that he’s a really good player. I love that one of the pictures said Cubs plus Seiya is gonna produce a World Series. That’s a good place to start.”