The Red Sox are expected to be aggressive in their pursuit of Japanese right-hander Tomoyuki Sugano, according to Boston Sports Journal’s Sean McAdam.
Sugano, 31, has been posted by the Yomiuri Giants of Nippon Professional Baseball, effective Tuesday morning at 8 am eastern time, per MLB Network’s Jon Morosi.
The veteran hurler is coming off a 2020 campaign in which he posted a 1.97 ERA and recorded 131 strikeouts over 20 outings and 137 1/3 innings of work for Yomiuri.
In his eight-year professional career, Sugano has taken home two Sawamura Awards — the Japanese equivalent of the Cy Young Award — in 2017 and 2018 as well as the Central League MVP Award in 2014.
A six-time All-Star in Japan, Sugano is projected to be a No. 3 or No. 4 starter stateside as he becomes one of the better starting pitchers available on the free agent market.
As you may already be aware, the Red Sox are a team in need of starting pitching this offseason. General manager Brian O’Halloran said as much when addressing reporters via Zoom earlier Monday.
“There are certainly a number of starting pitching options out there of various stripes, and also, of course, there’s a trade market,” said O’Halloran. “Several of those pitchers have signed but there are plenty of opportunities to delve into that market further, either via free agency or trade. Starting pitching and pitching in general is an area we’d like to improve and add depth to. We continue to work on that.”
Sugano would certainly fit that need given his accomplished career in Japan. But, as McAdam notes, “the Red Sox won’t be alone in their bidding” for him.
More specifically, per McAdam, “While multiple industry sources confirm the Red Sox have extensive scouting reports on the righthander and intend to be aggressive in their pursuit, other teams — including many big market teams, have similar levels of interest.”
ESPN’s Kiley McDaniel predicted over the weekend that a two-year, $24 million deal could be enough for a team to land Sugano’s services as a result of the revenue losses Major League Baseball and its clubs suffered in 2020.
Of course, any club interested in pursuing Sugano, such as the Red Sox, will beginning on Tuesday have until January 7 at 5 pm eastern time to negotiate a contract with the 6-foot-1, 183 lb. hurler.
Should be something to keep an eye on in the coming weeks.