The Toronto Blue Jays are among the teams looking to sign Tomoyuki Sugano.
To say the free agency market has moved slowly would be an understatement especially if you ask Toronto Blue Jays fans.
There seems to be a few dominos that could get things going with the San Diego Padres making two blockbuster trades. But as the top free agents continue to weigh their options, teams are forced to focus on deadlines relating to players from Japan and South Korea including Tomoyuki Sugano.
According to Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith, the Blue Jays have been among the favourites to land the two-time Sawamura Award which is given to the top pitcher in NPB. The issue is that teams don’t appear to be giving Sugano what he is looking for as Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that the 31-year-old is considering a return to Japan.
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Sugano posted a 1.97 ERA in 2020 and has the reputation of a pitcher that keeps the number of walks down. This seems to be an interesting situation considering Sugano’s age, the lack of no-doubt frontline starters and the fact that Sugano could easily opt to not sign at all.
MLB teams are offering a decent salary for Sugano while the Yomiuri Giants have offered him a four-year deal with a chance to opt out three times. Right now, the Blue Jays face some competition from the San Francisco Giants and the New York Mets (although New York’s interest isn’t as high) which doesn’t make signing Sugano a slam dunk.
The comparison for Sugano has been to Masahiro Tanaka, Kenta Maeda and Yu Darvish but it’s more than likely he would be a mid-rotation starter. He isn’t a hardthrower and uses precision especially with his fastball to throw off hitters.
Whether his pitching translates to MLB hitters is always something that has to be considered although with the data available to teams, it certainly makes it easier to roll the dice. The Blue Jays haven’t been shy with their interest in these types of players and that should hopefully make Toronto a prime destination.
Do you think the Blue Jays sign Sugano? Where would he potentially fit in the rotation? Let us know in the comments below.