The Pirates have interest in re-signing first baseman/outfielder Yoshi Tsutsugo and have already “had dialogue” with his camp, general manager Ben Cherington told reporters yesterday (Twitter link via Jason Mackey of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette).
Pittsburgh was Tsutsugo’s third organization in two MLB seasons. Originally signed by the Rays to a two-year, $12MM contract, the former Yokohama DeNA BayStars slugger was unable to find his footing in St. Petersburg or in Los Angeles, after being picked up by the Dodgers. The Pirates signed him midway through August and enjoyed a productive six-week stretch from Tsutsugo to close out the season.
[Related: Yoshi Tsutsugo Is Finding His Stride In Pittsburgh]
It was only a sample of 144 plate appearances, but Tsutsugo swatted eight home runs as a Pirate — matching his 2020 season output — and notched an impressive .268/.347/.535 batting line down the stretch (134 wRC+, 136 OPS+). After punching out in nearly a third of his plate appearances between the Dodgers and Rays, Tsutsugo curbed that to a much more reasonable 22.9 percent. Statcast credited Tsutsugo with 10 barreled balls in Pittsburgh — just one fewer than he’d turned in through 303 plate appearances between Tampa and L.A. in 2020-21.
It’s not clear just what role Tsutsugo would hold if he did return to the Bucs, though given their rebuilding state, it wouldn’t be hard to slot him into the lineup. Colin Moran is currently slated to play first base in 2022, although with a projected $4MM salary and an injury-marred 2021 showing, he may not be a lock to return. Bryan Reynolds is obviously a lock in center field, but the corners are a bit more open for now. Ben Gamel may have played his way into a 2022 role, but there’s a fair bit of uncertainty. It’s also quite possible the National League will have a designated hitter in 2022, which would make it easier for the Bucs to get Tsutsugo in the lineup.
From a payroll vantage point, there’s obvious space for a handful of offseason additions. The Pirates, somewhat remarkably, don’t have a single guaranteed contract on the books in 2022. They have 11 players up for arbitration this winter, headlined by Reynolds, but those 11 names come with a combined projected salary of just $27.9MM — and some will surely be non-tendered.
Tsutsugo declines the Mets pobo
Thoughts and prayers that the Mets hire someone soon so these comments can be put to rest. Cohen and Anderson are embarrassing themselves and the team.
Thank goodness every new article is an opportunity for the posters to make fun of the Mets. Otherwise, what would there be to do?
Ducky Buckin Fent
Rip on the Yankees?
Post, “can he pitch” on every Angels thread?
Perhaps argue about masks/vaccinations? Owners/Union?
Just throwing out some ideas as idle hands are the devil’s playthings, or whatever.
… don’t forget the lowest branch on the comedy tree – puns.
puns are the root of all jokes
Honestly I think the Pirates would flip Moran. He’s had his share of injuries but can play both corner positions. I’ve thought at the last 2 deadlines he was gone but then got injured a week or 2 before. We know what we have in Moran and it’s not going to change. Let tsutsugo handle 1B if he isn’t expecting much more than Moran
Nobody wants an oft-injured below average 1b/3b that is a bad defender. Just cut ties and let’s try Tsutsugo for awhile.
Moran could play DH, if it does indeed become universal. Might help him stay healthy.
Moran reminds me of Sid Bream in a way (not with the glove that’s for sure, Sid could field rather well). Both guys are OK to slot into your lineup but they are guys teams should be constantly looking to upgrade over. Moran is a downer enough bat but he really shouldn’t be an everyday player for most teams.
Autocorrect struck me again… that should say Moran is a GOOD enough bat…
Moran will surge once he is on a better team and bats 6-7 in the order. He is no clean up guy
my opinion cruz in right. tucker and newman at short for ’22. to see if they can get the bats going. If not cruz back to short.
I doubt that’s who they play opening day but I could see it by June or July. By then hopefully the free agent LF is replaced by Travis Swaggerty and I’d like to see the front office upgrade over Moran but would prefer they get some pitchers.
The Pirates have no guaranteed money on the books just to remind us that when you get right down to it, we’re all day-to-day.
The great Marv Albert said that on the air once “(So and so) is day to day… but then again, aren’t we all?” I’m not sure if he was the first or not.
Keith Olbermann used to use that line on Sportscenter back when ESPN was watchable.
I associate that line with Vin Scully.
It’s all about risk/reward. Yoshi ain’t much, though I have to think he’s better than he’s shown. OTOH, I don’t think the Bucs will be signing any high profile Free Agents, they don’t have any corner OFers, 1B is likely open (Moran’s nice, but it ends there), and the NL-DH is almost a certainty.
If it’s under 3M, the question becomes “why not?”.
It would prevent them from finding a spot to play Pujols!
Re-signing Yoshi would be a wise move for both parties IMHO. The Bucs should be looking to move on from Moran anyways; he is what he is, a decent player who teams should be happy enough to have but still looking to upgrade from. Yoshi became a bit of a fan favorite and cult hero with his homer spree, and he hopefully appreciates his apparent comfort level in Pittsburgh.
Pirates have to be careful here. He would just be a place holder. Unless Colin won’t be here in ’22 then it makes more sense.
To be fair, it doesn’t look like Colin is anything but a placeholder either.
Exactly. I’m not thinking Yoshi is necessarily the long term answer at first, but Moran sure isn’t.
Mason hopefully will be that guy, he is killing the ball in the minors
yup, but he is already on the roster at about $3m
I dunno. They can lose 100 games again with or without Yoshi. We keep hearing that the farm is now well stocked and the best will get here in ‘23 or ‘24, so does it really matter? Not like the fans will come out unless it’s a fireworks night.
I’d love to believe Nutting is giving some leeway with salary money—yeah, how foolish—but given what we’ve seen on the mound, wouldn’t getting a serviceable arm or two be the priority, while the kids gain experience?
there were under the radar reports that suggested Bob gave NH the go ahead for more salary during the window.. But really there wasn’t a lot to upgrade. Pitching was top notch in their 94win season upgraded with Byrd and traded for Morneau….
Point is… there is a chance if they think the window is open again.
IMO part of this rebuild is saving money until 2023/4 then they’ll have 100m extra to spend on free agents if they’re needed.
Agree 100%. I know local media and some fans want free agent signings here but if the farm is that strong, why bother? At this juncture, would it translate even into a .500 season before the kids get here? Not likely.
Career MLB splits for Moran and Yoshi:
Vs LHP PA BA OBP SLG OPS OPS+
Moran 303 .216 .281 .331 .611 65
Yoshi 113 .252 .310 .427 .737 110
Vs RHP PA BA OBP SLG OPS OPS+
Moran 1261 .280 .341 .440 .781 109
Yoshi 334 .194 .309 .373 .683 96
This looks like a decent platoon. Yoshi is also a LH hitter but has reverse splits. If DH is adopted, the Bucs may need to get Moran out of the lineup against LHP.
I used to be anti-DH, just because when the pitcher batted, it really helped move these games along. Now the average starter only sees one AB, so bring on the DH (and a pitch clock too).
I’m still rather against it. I love seeing pitchers getting hits and the extra work coaches have to do to manage the roster along with seeing some of the other position players actually getting to play.
I understand joew, but in the Bucs case, most of our bench players are likely going to be part of a platoon. They will play.
@joew, all the extra utility players play multiple times a week these days anyway. Players get injured way way way more frequently, and most get scheduled days off too. The art of the double-switch is long gone, my friend
@BucsFan I disagree. Bench players do play more than before sure but it is still pretty sparingly and even less so in the AL. double switching has always been situational..
Maybe we’re just seeing our players play more because our pitchers are so bad and there is a pinch hitter in the 3rd inning 😉
at any rate, i still like the pitchers hitting.
Agreed bucsfan. It’s time. It pains me to say that because, at 62, I’m decidedly old school…but I’m finally ready.
My radical idea (which would give all players an 11% raise) would be to just have the 8 position players hit in an 8-inning game. No pitchers, no DH
*no pitchers batting
To clarify, without the adoption of the DH in the NL, this is a decent platoon at 1B. With the DH, the Bucs would likely play both vs RHP, but vs LHP, someone like Chavis needs to be in there for Moran.
I have a recording of that dialogue. It went like this:
Pirates: how would you like to play for us in 2022
I would try to resign Yoshi and also go after Josh Harrison as gap ball player until the young players are ready. Josh could be available at a low salary and could be a corner outfielder and utility infielder, Josh had a nice season last year and could be a benefit to all the young talent.