Rays sign Yoshimoto Tsutsugo
The Rays have made a somewhat big splash (for them, anyway) in free agency, signing one of the top players coming from Japan this winter. They inked Yoshimoto Tsutsugo to a two-year deal worth around $12 million. They also paid a $2.5 million posting fee. Tsutsugo, entering his age-28 season, doesn’t have a clear defensive spot in the lineup, but the bat is there. He is a big corner slugger with power to all fields, and according to reports his exit velocity was huge in Japan. He has received comparisons to Eric Thames, the slugger who burst back onto the scene a few years ago after crushing it in Korea. Tsutsugo is likely to spend a lot of time at DH, giving him a slim margin for error, but he’ll also fill in some at third base and left field.
Sox Spin: The Rays are obviously big competition for the Red Sox this year, and this probably makes them better. Having never seen him against major-league competition, we don’t really know what we’re getting from Tsutsugo but the reports are encouraging for him and Tampa Bay. Their biggest flaw, in my mind at least, was a relatively lack of upside at the plate so moves like this get them a little more of that.
Brewers sign Brett Anderson
The Brewers have made a cheap addition to their rotation, bringing in left-handed pitcher Brett Anderson. He’ll make a base salary of $5 million with $2 million more in incentives. The southpaw has had a really interesting career, coming up as a well thought of prospect with injuries derailing his career. It really never looked like he was going to get going, but in 2015 he finally got a full season in and had another one this past year. There’s little in the way of upside at this point — he just doesn’t miss bats — but when he’s on the mound he’s generally around average with good control and lots of ground balls.
Sox Spin: I liked Anderson for the Red Sox, though I get the case for Pérez over him, at least. I’m still not sure I would have that preference, but Boston has plenty of injury risk in their rotation as it is and for them even more than other teams there’s value in durability. Still, I think on a per-inning basis there’s a better chance of Anderson being better, though neither is really a game changer.
Yoenis Céspedes restructures his contract
It’s been a while since Yoenis Céspedes has been in the news. The slugger has watched his career fall off in the blink of an eye, missing all of last season and playing in a combined 119 games in the two years before that. Now, he’s restructured his big deal with the Mets, getting paid much less. This is a very, very rare thing in baseball, but this is a rare situation. Céspedes was hurt last offseason then apparently fell in a hole which cause him to miss the entire season. Only the Mets. Anyway, the team had reason to believe that wasn’t actually what happened and were ready to take him to arbitration and void his entire deal. Rather than risk losing the entire contract, Céspedes decided to restructure. It’s not clear what the plan is for him in 2020.
Sox Spin: First of all, remember when Céspedes was on the Red Sox? He is the most famous former Red Sox player I constantly forget was here. Secondly, people are probably going to wonder if something like this will happen with Pedroia. It will not. The players union would never allow this except in very extenuating circumstances. Céspedes’ situation falls in that category.