Tomoyuki Sugano to be posted
One of the best pitchers in Japan is going to be coming to the US this summer. On Wednesday, it was reported that the Yomiuri Giants will be posting Tomoyuki Sugano for major-league clubs at some point this winter. The exact timetable still isn’t exactly clear, but presumably teams will be able to start negotiating with the righty soon. Once Sugano is posted, all major-league teams will have 30 days to negotiate with him. He can take the best deal, with the posting fee being a rate based on the terms of the contract.
Sugano is one of the most accomplished pitchers in Japan, having won the Sawamura Award twice over the course of his career in the NPB. The Sawamura Award is the NPB equivalent of the Cy Young award. Sugano also has experience in the World Baseball Classic, including an impressive showing against Team USA back in 2017. This past year he pitched to a 1.97 ERA with 131 strikeouts and 25 walks over 137 1⁄3 innings.
Sugano, who turned 31 in October, throws a fastball that sits in the low-to-mid 90s but has high spin that makes it play faster than it is, along with a good breaking ball and a solid splitter. Most scouts see him as a potential mid-rotation starter in the majors at this point in his career. Given all of that, there is likely to be plenty of interest in the righty this winter, and while the Red Sox should be among them his age might make him more appealing to teams in, or at least closer to, their championship window.
In addition to Sugano, it was reported on Thursday that another Japanese pitcher, Kohei Arihara, was officially posted. Teams now have 30 days to negotiate with him. We discussed his potential market and fit with the Red Sox here.
Reds, Rockies make a minor trade
The Reds and Rockies made a trade on Wednesday that would have been exciting three or four years ago. The two teams traded a pair of former top pitching prospects with Robert Stephenson going to the Rockies and Jeff Hoffman going to the Reds. Prospects also changed sides with Colorado getting outfielder Jameson Hannah while Cincinnati got pitcher Case Williams.
There’s not really a whole lot to say about this one as it is just a pair of pitchers that had some potential at one point who are looking for new starts elsewhere. Unfortunately for them, they both are going from one bad pitcher’s park to another, though Hoffman does at least go to a Reds organization that has done well with pitchers in recent years. He is a former Blue Jays prospect who was part of the deal that sent Troy Tulowitzki to Toronto way back when. He has a 6.40 ERA over 230 2⁄3 career innings. Stephenson, meanwhile, is a former first-round pick (as is Hoffman) who has a career 5.15 ERA over 208 career innings.
Given the pedigree these both seem like the kind of cheap additions the Chaim Bloom Red Sox have liked in the short time he’s been running things, but I don’t think anyone will be crying too much about missing out.