The Yomiuri Giants of Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball have formally posted right-hander Tomoyuki Sugano for Major League teams. His 30-day posting period will begin tomorrow morning at 8am and run through Jan. 7 at 5pm ET, tweets MLB.com’s Jon Morosi.
Sugano, 31, is one of the most prominent pitchers in Japan. A two-time winner of the Sawamura Award — Japan’s Cy Young equivalent — he’s viewed as one of the top talents on the market behind Trevor Bauer, who is still in a class of his own among free-agent hurlers.
After a down season (by his lofty standards) in which he posted a 3.89 ERA in 2019, Sugano rebounded in 2020 with 137 1/3 innings of 1.97 ERA ball, averaging 8.6 K/9 against 1.6 BB/9 along the way. Overall, dating back to the 2015 season, Sugano has thrown more than 1000 innings with a 2.19 ERA while averaging better than eight strikeouts and fewer than two walks per nine frames.
Some fans may remember Sugano from a strong showing in the 2017 World Baseball Classic. The right-hander shined in a strong outing against Team USA, allowing just an unearned run with six strikeouts and one walk over six innings and eliciting high praise from skipper Jim Leyland.
“I can’t tell you, for me, tonight, how impressed I was with their pitcher,” Leyland said at the time (link via MLB.com’s Joe Trezza). “I mean, I thought he was really good. Located on the ball on the outside corners, fastball. Threw 3-0 sliders. That’s pretty impressive.” Leyland plainly called Sugano a “big league pitcher” after that game. (Those interested can check out all 81 of Sugano’s pitches from that game in this YouTube clip.)
Sugano’s fastball averages 92-93 mph and, like his curveball, boasts a strong spin rate. Sports Info Solution’s Will Hoefer took a look at him last October, calling him at least a No. 4 starter in the big leagues, and that was after an injury-hindered campaign as opposed to the strong 2020 showing Sugano just authored. ESPN’s Kiley McDaniel also labels him a likely fourth starter, noting that he’d have a chance at three years with an annual value in excess of $10MM in a normal offseason but projecting a slightly more measured two-year, $24MM deal due to the sport’s revenue losses. Sugano would’ve been included on MLBTR’s own list of the game’s top 50 free agents had it been known for certain that he’d be posted at the time of publishing.
Major League teams will have the next 30 days to negotiate with Sugano, who is exempt from international bonus pools and free to sign a contract of any length and for any amount. In addition to the money paid to Sugano on his contract, the team that signs him will also owe a release fee to the Yomiuri Giants. That fee is equal to 20 percent of the contract’s first $25MM, plus 17.5 percent of the contract’s next $25MM in value, plus an additional 15 percent of any money guaranteed thereafter.
You’re leaving out Monty and German. With Monty being further removed from TJ, he should get back to normal. And German has supposedly looked good in the DR.
I would hope they’d release German soon, wouldn’t want a bum like that on my team.
Regardless of our feelings about German, the fact is he’s a pre-arb starting pitcher with MLB success on a team that’s trying to get below the Luxury Tax during a time that nobody knows how revenues will work out. Unless there’s something extreme going on, he’s on the team.
That was very insightful Doug. Care to expand on what you are talking about?
Ducky Buckin Fent
Yeah for sure, @laddy.
I think a lifetime ban is in order. What we really need are more tyrannical decisions made where a lone entity acts as judge, jury, & executioner on a “one strike” policy.
Hmmm…that actually sounds a lot like things myself & a lot of really good men fought as part of UN Peacekeeping forces. But, hey, whatever. Right?
Yeah, Joe, you’re right. He’s probably the best pitcher of the three right now, although with all the hype, Schmidt May end up being the better one. I was just getting the convo started. I can see the Yankees going for someone like him to give their youth a bit more time to develop, and also relieve the burden of a long-term, #1 or #2 contract.
The main pitching question for their rotation is whether they bring back Tanaka. Cole, Tanaka, Sugano is a pretty darn good 1-3.
This offseason is going painfully slow and is beginning to scare me. To me it screams, in Hal’s voice of course, “We can get ‘just enough’ to get us over the top,” when they should be aggressive and determine their own fate by making their moves first.
Still feel German is more of a spot starter/RP. Only one successful season as a SP and that was really just 4 months.
This is a funny video JomBoy posted about Sugano recently. It’s about him pitching when an umpire refuses to call strikes. He throws 3 straight strikes to start the at bat and should have struck the batter out on the pitches. Instead, because of the umpire Sugano ends up walking the batter on 4 pitches. Worth a look not just for Sugano fans but baseball fans in general. This is why the electronic strike zone is a good idea:
I could not agree more. So sick of it. And everyone has an excuse about how hard it is for umps, but if it’s so hard, let’s help them. If all the umps want to do is call a fair game by the rules, then they should be ecstatic.
I can’t tell you how many clutch AB’s I saw last year that the umps affected due to bad calls on pitches. And this nonsense about consistency is a joke as well. Yes, it’s better if they are consistently calling certain pitches and locations a certain way all the time, but if the call is wrong it really only makes it slightly better. They should strive to get it right, not be bad but consistent.
On top of that, some pitchers just meltdown when they don’t get calls. Same with hitters. While it’s easy to state that’s on the player, it shouldn’t be. They are trying to play by the rules. And if they show any displeasure, some umpires will show them up even further, will no real in-season corrective actions taken.
Add to all this that some umpires hold obvious grudges against certain teams their whole career and it’s just time we take away the nonsense of the strike zone. It is the most ridiculous part of officiating in any sport .. from playground sports all the way to the MLB.
No more Tanaka. Yanks were fortunate to make it as far as they did with him and that partially torn UCL in his elbow. Move on from him. Get younger and better. No more lifetime achievement contracts.
I agree about moving on from Tanaka but it’s about time to give up the torn UCL narrative. By now, he’s no more likely to have an arm injury than anyone else.
dave frost nhlpa
I’d like to see how strong he is post TJS.
I bet he’s phenomenal.
If the Mets want him, he’s there’s
what, did he recently profess his undying love for the Mets?
Ducky Buckin Fent
That was @Metsfan22. But I can see why you’d think that.
Ducky Buckin Fent
I’ve definitely thought about bringing back my Hiro & adding Sugano. It may not be the overwhelmingly dominant rotation we’d love to see. I get that. But good chance our starting staff would be improved from last year.
I think I’d be ok with rounding the rest out with our young fellas; Deivi, Monty, Schmidt, maybe even German.
I can see an argument for Bauer > Tanaka + Sugano. Plus, we’d have the added benefit of watching a particular sect (if you will) of Yankee fans heads explode with their faux outrage. But sometimes I perhaps have a bit of a naughty sense of humor. Still though…
I can’t think of anyone connected with baseball who I have more respect for and whose endorsement would mean more from than Jim Leyland. If Leyland said that Sugano is good enough to succeed in MLB, I’m sold.
That was also a long time ago at this point
because his numbers have totally dipped since then
3 year candidate for Texas? He seems like a good NPB pitcher to take a risk on.
Agreed. Perhaps his addition would help get KIm here. Eventhough from different countries and organizations. Cincy cutting costs and Texas needs pitching and loves 3/30 deals so perhaps Texas offers Martin, Evans and Bahr for Gray and if they will take Odor we could take Castellanos.
I doubt the Odor – Casty trade would happen, Casty is just so much better. Maaaybe they could formulate a Gray trade if they ate a lot of his contract, but I get scared of the thought of trading Jung or Huff. I don’t think JD would let Young trade either of them, so I’d imagine a package like what you said would be formed.
I’d love to see us get Kim and then stock up on lots of pitchers this off-season. Maybe a big trade like Gray, maybe sign a Walker, Sugano, or Paxton. Then trade Lynn for an up and coming pitcher like Jhoan Duran from the Twins who I would absolutely love to see come to Texas.
My top 7 choices pitching-wise would be in order: Paxson,, Archer, Desclafani, and Sugano via FA then Duran, S. Gray, J. Gray in trades. I would also sign 1-2 of Rodon, Urena, and Wacha to minors deals for depth and add some combination of Bradley, O’Day McGee, and Peacock to Bullpen. What would your choices be?
I’d still like Paxton, but he’d have to come at a super cheap price because of his injury history.
I like Taijuan Walker, Desclafani, Sugano, Archer, and Williams. Really any of those would work. As for trades, I like Duran, Whitley, Sonny Gray (if we have the prospect capital), and yeah, I’d say Jon Gray too.
I don’t want either of Rodon or Urena for starting depth because they aren’t starters anymore, they are high leverage relievers. And really, I’d love to see Urena come in as a high leverage reliever. Our bullpen is good already, so going after some cheaper, high upside guys is our route right now. I’d like somebody like Junior Guerra to replace Chavez’s role , and then some Urena-Rodon type guys too. No need to get a more expensive piece like Hand or Bradley. We can feast on the bounce back guys.
Ducky Buckin Fent
Paxton is so frustrating, man.
So much talent.
So always injured.
The stuff is undeniable. But I think you have to look at ~ 130-40 innings from him as what you’ll (hopefully!) be getting.
There is no way the twins make your proposed trade for lynn. They are more likely to trade Duran plus for Gray. The rangers are not a couple pitchers away from being a contender. Plus Lynn did not fit in Minnesota.
No way you think he should go to the rangers jk I want him to sign with my homer team too. But he doesn’t fit the rangers window. Theyre no where near competing in that division, probably 3 years out so why waste his prime with Texas?
I was talking about this with another group the other day, and I really don’t think Texas is too far off from contending again. I think in 22′ we could be in a good fight for the WC. We have Huff and Jung coming up at the end of this season, so our lineup going into 22′ would be this:
That is good from bottom to top, maybe with the exception of Guzman (who needs to be platooned).
That’s why we get pitchers this off-season. Our staff isn’t good right now (assuming we trade Lynn), so we need to go out and stock up on arms while they are plentiful. Go trade for a few, sign a few, draft a few, and over the next few years, we will have a pretty good staff form.
So to go along with that lineup, the pitching staff should put us in a position to win games. Not to mention how the bullpen is almost always good now.
So I don’t think it’s far-fetched to see us contending in 22′, and especially in 23′.
If one player has to play two positions, the lineup can’t be that good.
Not to mention the 3 top prospects you think the rangers can get for Lynn (just kidding don’t worry). I’m afraid that lineup and staff don’t match up well with the other teams in the division especially if the LA figures it out. Rangers only hope at playoffs by 23 is hitting big on a couple top draft choices and adding another team to the wild card
Lmao, it even took me a minute just now to remember who I was thinking lol. It’s Kim. 2nd Solak is Kim lmao.
Ok, you say that now, but if what I say happens, happens, then you’ll be looking at the standings in a different light come 22′. Right now we can just debate over the future when it hasn’t actually happened yet.
BTW, if the Angels figure it out, then I expect the Angels and A’s to top the division, and then the Rangers, Mariners, and Astros to be crowding the bottom. The A.L West will be fun in 22′.
I only think the angels figure it out eventually not because their better then Texas but because Texas doesn’t have a Trout
I think I might like the Angels chances more than you lol. I really like the idea of Perry coming in, and he’s already making good moves.
Ducky Buckin Fent
I can see the Rangers being competitive sooner rather than later, @ Rangers29.
They *do* have a few decent young players. They’ve also shown they’ll spend some money. And, Texas (as a State) is addressing the Covid stuff in a very practical way.
Meaning the Astros & Rangers will be having fans before everyone else. If they show signs of improvement I can see them throwing some Real Loot around next off-season.
So ’22 seems like a definite possibility from here.
Since you brought it up, TX is experiencing a record-pace number of Covid cases and deaths. Kinda pacing the nation. Not exactly an example of good practices. They’ll blow past NY in a month or so, and NY has NYC as an excuse. Just sayin’.
Mets should target him
I’d love the Mets to take a run at him because they are woefully lacking in pitching options in the upper minors and their major league options were all pretty bad last year…save for deGrom and Peterson (compared to what was expected). A smart club goes after these guys instead of acquiring an overpriced veteran.
I don’t know a lot about Sugano. I do know the Angels need pitching, play in an area with a large Japanese-American population (there’s a market/food court near my office that makes you feel like you’re in Japan the moment you walk in) and have direct flights to Japan.
Of course, same could be said of Seattle.
Oh man (insert your teams name here) would be a perfect fit.
Sugarland Skeeters would love him!
cant say that anymore now that they are a farm team. LI Ducks would want him though.
Those comments from Leyland were 500 or more innings ago. Team doctors pouring over player’s medicals will determine how much this guy is worth. Loss of location and effective movement in hitting zone is usually the first sign of injury.
The posting fee seems high under current economic conditions.
That’s just what the posting fee is now that it’s standardized. Before that you had Yu Darvish type situations where the posting fee could be $50M on a guy getting a $60M contract.
It’s scaled by the amount of the contract so any team bidding on Sugano is going to know exactly how much the posting fee is and factor that into what they’re willing to pay.
well the NPB/KBO teams in question arent giving up their great players for nothing
one more year in the current team a korean and japanese league players become a freeagent.
If the Rangers get this guy and Kim it could be huge
Lynn 2.80 ERA
Allard (hopefully he can do this) 4.25
Evans 2.50 13k/9
C Trevino .260 8 HR
1B Guzman .245 20 HR
2B Solak .280 25 HR
SS INK .300 15 HR
3B Kim .290 30 HR
CF Tavares .260 12 HR 45 SB
RF Gallo .260 60 HR
DH Calhoun .280 30 HR
Oh boy buddy, oh boy.
that is potential… not likely… but still with such a young lineup there is a lot to be excited for
Some of your projected ERAs vs each pitcher’s career ERA (and 2020):
Lynn – 2.80 vs. 3.57 (3.32 in 2020)
Gibson – 4.00 vs 4.57 (5.35)
Allard – 4.25 vs 6.72 (7.75)
Lyles – 3.20 v 5.22 (7.02)
Evans – 2.50 (four career innings pitched)
Montero – 3.00 vs 4.93 (4.08)
LeClerc – 2.80 vs 3.19 (2 innings in 2020; 4.33 ERA in 2019)
Hernandez – 2.40 vs 3.40 (2.90)
In other words, you’ve overestimated (sometimes by a lot) almost every pitcher. And the only thing I’ll say about your hitting ‘potentials’ is that Gallo is a career .208 hitter who hit .181 in 2020. 60 homers and .260 is laughable.
that is why it is potential… also Lynn had a terrible last start
Gallo hit pretty close to .260 in 2019… so yes he has the potential
…right, but he’s still didn’t do it, nor did he come within 20 home runs of 60. You have Gallo doing two things he’s never done, one of which he has never come close to doing. It is not ‘potential’, it is delusion.
i think that’s a little bold for Cody this early on
Why not just say Gallo will ‘potentially’ hit .320 and 90 HR? It’s ‘potential’.
Yeah, I find myself doing the “what if everyone on my team played to their full potential at the same time all season without getting injured — we’d be the best team in baseball” daydreaming from time-to-time. But I quickly realize every other team would be great too in fantasyland, and I’m setting myself up for disappointment if I start to believe that the best case scenario is likely. But it’s fun to dream!
Watched a good part of that youtube clip. Some nice late rise to the fastball, late movement on some of his other pitches, good location on most. He’d be a decent pickup.
If I’m focusing on a rebuild, as the Rangers are,and investing in someone that’s never played in MLB, I’m putting my money on a 25-year-old(Kim), before I commit millions to a 31-year-old(Sugano)
why not both… even if it don’t work out and Rangers aren’t competitive during sugano contact… they could always trade him. Rangers have so much money to spend that it is kind of crazy. I think they said they wanted to be around 110-120M and right now they project at 80M
if he were on the giants he would be an instant top of the rotation guy, right now the rotation is cueto, gausman.