Right-hander Tomoyuki Sugano has decided to pass on the international opt-out clause in his contract, and will remain with the Yomiuri Giants for at least one more season. Sugano told Yahoo Japan and other media outlets that his goal was to help the Giants win a championship in 2022.
Sugano was one of the more intriguing names of last winter’s free agent market, after the Giants posted the righty. The Blue Jays and Padres each made formal contract offers to Sugano and at least four other teams (the Rangers, Mets, Red Sox, and San Francisco Giants) also had some level of interest. However, a deal couldn’t be reached before the end of the 30-day posting window, with Sugano feeling that he was limited by both that short timeframe and the slow-moving nature of the first pandemic-influenced offseason.
The Yomiuri team ended up re-signing Sugano to a new four-year deal worth $40MM, though Sugano was given the opportunity to opt out after every year of that contract to pursue another shot at signing with a Major League team. Sugano would’ve been a full-fledged free agent, no longer constrained by the MLB/NPB posting system, and he was already old enough and with the prerequisite experience to not be subject to the international signing pools.
Long one of the best pitchers in Japanese baseball, Sugano is coming off a down year by his high standards, an injury-shortened season that limited him to 115 2/3 innings. He was still quite effective when he did pitch, posting a 3.16 ERA, 22.25% strikeout rate, and a 5.61% walk rate to help the Giants reach the Central League Climax Series, where they fell to the eventual Japan Series champion Tokyo Yakult Swallows.
Sugano turned 32 in October, and has now been set back by injuries in two of the last three seasons, even though his overall numbers have still been strong. These factors alone might not have stopped Sugano in a normal offseason, but with the lockout now putting everything on hold, it isn’t surprising that Sugano chose to remain in a familiar environment. If he felt things were too rushed within the limits of a 30-day posting window, Sugano certainly wouldn’t have liked the rush that will come following the end of the transactions freeze, when over 200 other free agents will also be battling for contracts before Opening Day.
He had no intentions of ever coming over here. Used the threat of leaving to get a new contract.
Good for him!!
More likely he was scared off by the lockout. If he was using this as a threat, he wouldn’t have got an opt-out every year of a 4 year contract. He probably could have made more money without them.
I was hoping the Angels could sign him. He is super consistently good and is at his best against the best. Examples would be postseason games and the World Baseball Classic where he dominated a star-studded US team.
He got those opt outs as leverage against the Giants! Anytime they do anything to piss him off he can threaten to opt out.
It was COVID in certainty last year and the looming lockout this season. He also had a down year (for his standards). If he bounces back he can earn more than $10 mil next year in the MLB.
He’ll be 33 next year with more wear and tear on his body. Don’t see him getting a large contract unless he absolutely dominates again
If he has a typical year for him, he will get paid. His age will start to cut into how long that contract is.
No way he didn’t want to play in the MLB. After posting he was not getting much offers. Then signs back with the Giants(NPB). How would he Know he would be able to get those opt-outs?
Hiroki Kuroda got a big deal at 33, so it’s certainly still possible
How many years ago was that? Because in baseball terms considering how teams value 33 year old pitchers now seems like a generation ago.
So if Suzuki’s 30 day window lapses during the lockout, he’d be ineligible to sign a MLB deal?
The 30 day window is also frozen. Will resume when/if the lockout ends.
The now-locked 30-day window can be a benefit to him. GMs can still talk to agents, just not the players. The parameters of the financial can be hammered out now and then made official once the lock-out is over. In other words, he’s being given more than 30 days. The downside is he can’t meet with any teams face-to-face.
Getting of topic but is Kodai senga a free agent this year?
Not yet. I believe he becomes one after the 2022 or 2023 season. His team will not post him so he has to wait.