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Yomiuri Giants Post Ace Tomoyuki Sugano

March 21, 2017; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Japan pitcher Tomoyuki Sugano (11) throws against USA in the first inning during the 2017 World Baseball Classic at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
March 21, 2017; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Japan pitcher Tomoyuki Sugano (11) throws against USA in the first inning during the 2017 World Baseball Classic at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
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SF Giants, Tomoyuki Sugano, Yomiuri Giants
Japanese starting pitcher Tomoyuki Sugano (11) pitches against the United States during the second inning of the 2017 World Baseball Classic at Dodger Stadium. He was posted on Monday by the Yomiuri Giants and becomes an obvious SF Giants target. (Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports)

The Yomiuri Giants have officially posted ace Tomoyuki Sugano. He would obviously fit in an SF Giants roster lacking quality starting pitchers.

According to a report by Jon Morosi of MLB Network, the Yomiuri Giants have posted right-handed starting pitcher Tomoyuki Sugano. Morosi had previously reported that the Giants planned to post Sugano, so the move does not come as a surprise.

Effective at 8:00 am eastern time on Tuesday, all 30 MLB teams will be able to negotiate with arguably the best starter not already in Major League Baseball. Both sides will have until 5:00 pm eastern time on January 7, 2021, to complete a deal. Otherwise, he will return to Yomiuri next season. Given the SF Giants obvious needs in their starting rotation, Sugano could emerge as one of their top targets.

Since debuting in 2013, Sugano has won the Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) league’s Most Valuable Player and two Sawamura Awards (the NPB’s equivalent of the Cy Young). In 2020, he recorded a 2.04 ERA across 132.1 innings (19 starts) with 126 strikeouts, just 25 walks, and 96 hits. Over his career, Sugano maintains a 2.34 ERA over 1357 innings (196 games) with 1211 strikeouts, 265 walks, and 1144 hits.

Sugano’s prolonged dominance rests on elite command and his ability to manipulate all of his pitches. His fastball sits in the low-90s but plays off his ability to locate on the corners and pair it with other pitches. If you count every variation in his pitch mix, Sugano has five (possibly seven) pitches. However, at its core, he compliments his fastball with a plus slider and splitfinger.

At 31, Sugano is far from a projection signing and probably lacks the upside of some other arms available, but the Giants rotation already has a number of high volatility arms. For an organization that sees its window opening soon, Sugano will not command a contract that would hamstring a payroll far into the future and has the track record to justify a contract locking him up past 2022.

Still, his final market is up for some debate. ESPN’s Kiley McDaniel ranked Sugano the 13th-best free agent available and projected him to sign a two-year, $24 million deal this offseason. Since any signing team will have to pay a posting fee proportional to his guarantees, the total contract would cost $28.4 million. However, MLB Trade Rumors omitted him from their top-50 free agent list altogether, suggesting they do not think he will get more than $4 million a year.

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Yomiuri Giants righthanded pitcher Tomoyuki Sugano is one of the best pitchers in Japan. The 31-year old can offer an SF Giants team desperate for trustworthy starting pitchers a strong mid-rotation arm. There are always risks when international players transition to MLB, but Sugano seems like a safe bet to fit in a big-league rotation.

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