A new name has been added to the pool of free-agent outfielders, with Yoshitomo Tsutsugo set to be posted by the Yokohama Bay Stars. Is the Japanese slugger a potential fit for the San Francisco Giants?
The San Francisco Giants will be looking for ways to add some offensive punch this offseason, and signing a power-hitting corner outfielder looks like the most obvious way to do it from a roster standpoint.
While they could certainly kick the tires on free agents like Marcell Ozuna, Nicholas Castellanos and Yasiel Puig, another name worthy of being on their radar is Japanese slugger Yoshitomo Tsutsugo.
According to Jason Coskrey of The Japan Times, the 27-year-old outfielder will be made available to MLB teams this offseason by way of the posting system.
His age and pro experience mean he will not be subject to international signing bonus restrictions, though teams will still need to pay a posting fee to sign him.
Jeff Todd of MLB Trade Rumors explained:
"Under the new posting system, which went into effect after Ohtani’s signing, the team that agrees to sign Tsutsugo will also need to pay a release fee that is determined by reference to the contract. Teams pay 20% of guaranteed money up to $25MM, 17.5% for promised cash between $25MM and $50MM, and then 15% of anything beyond. There are also some provisions that allow for additional release fees in the event that certain non-guaranteed earnings are triggered."
So what does the 10-year veteran of the Japanese League bring to the table?
Since becoming an everyday player in 2015, Tsutsugo has posted some gaudy offensive numbers for the Bay Stars:
- 2015: 568 PA, .900 OPS, .317/.400/.522, 24 HR, 93 RBI
- 2016: 561 PA, 1.110 OPS, .322/.430/.680, 44 HR, 110 RBI
- 2017: 601 PA, .909 OPS, .284/.396/.513, 28 HR, 94 RBI
- 2018: 580 PA, .989 OPS, .295/.393/.596, 38 HR, 89 RBI
- 2019: 557 PA, .899 OPS, .272/.388/.511, 29 HR, 79 RBI
There are always question about whether the power numbers will translate, but this video certainly makes a case for his plus pop:
Even if he’s just a 20-homer hitter stateside, his elite-level plate discipline still gives him the potential to be an impact player offensively.
During the aforementioned five-year, span, he walked at an impressive 14.7 percent clip.
By comparison, the San Francisco Giants as a team walked just 7.7 percent of the time, which ranked 24th in the majors and contributed to a .302 team on-base percentage that checked in 28th in baseball.
It remains to be seen how strong the market will be for his services and what sort of contract he will be seeking, but he’s a name worth knowing as the San Francisco Giants embark on what promises to be a busy offseason.