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SF Giants: Tomoyuki Sugano Market Taking Shape

LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 21: Tomoyuki Sugano #11 of Japan
pitches during the Game 2 of the Championship Round of the 2017 World Baseball Classic between United States and Japan at Dodger Stadium on March 21, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Masterpress/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 21: Tomoyuki Sugano #11 of Japan pitches during the Game 2 of the Championship Round of the 2017 World Baseball Classic between United States and Japan at Dodger Stadium on March 21, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Masterpress/Getty Images)
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SF Giants
LOS ANGELES, CA – MARCH 21: Pitcher Tomoyuki Sugano #11 of team Japan reacts after giving up a hit to Andrew McCutchen #22 of team United States in the fourth inning during Game 2 of the Championship Round of the 2017 World Baseball Classic at Dodger Stadium on March 21, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

The SF Giants are reportedly finalists for talented Japanese hurler Tomoyuki Sugano, and a decision will possibly come before the January 7 deadline.

According to Jon Heyman of MLB Network, the SF Giants target is expected to sign by Tuesday, and contract parameters have been discussed. Based on the report, Sugano is seeking a three-year deal with multiple opt-out clauses.

Furthermore, the Sugano market got some clarity on Monday as Joel Sherman of the New York Post reported that the New York Mets are focusing elsewhere and that they may no longer be in contention for the right-handed hurler.

If true, only the Boston Red Sox, San Diego Padres, and Toronto Blue Jays are the known finalists along with the Giants. With that being said, the Padres might also be out on Sugano after acquiring Blake Snell and Yu Darvish last week.

The Giants’ interest is not surprising as they still have plenty of work to do on the rotation. As currently constructed, Johnny Cueto, Logan Webb, Kevin Gausman, and Anthony DeSclafani are the four primary rotation arms. At some point, Tyler Beede will return from Tommy John surgery as well.

Given that baseball went through a shortened season in 2020, teams must build up rotation depth as they may need 7-8 starters. In the minor leagues, San Francisco has Sean Hjelle and Tristan Beck tabbed as two prospects who are relatively close to forcing their way into the conversation.

With that being said, there is still a lot of room to add depth, and reeling in Sugano would go a long way in achieving that end. The righty has appeared in eight seasons in the Japanese Central League with the Yomiuri Giants. In that time, he has registered a 101-50 record, 2.34 ERA, 1.04 WHIP, 8.0 K/9, and a 4.59 SO/W ratio. The righty has a low-90’s fastball, a devastating slider, and pinpoint command.

The 2020 season was a dominant campaign for the 31-year-old as he posted a 14-2 record, 1.97 ERA, 0.88 WHIP, and an 8.6 K/9 ratio in 137.1 frames while bringing home the Sawamura Award, which is the equivalent of the Cy Young Award.

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Based on the information released today, the Giants could very well be one of three remaining teams (the other two being the Red Sox and Blue Jays) in the market for Sugano. His posting period ends on January 7, so a decision will be known by Thursday. However, today’s report indicates a move could come as soon as Tuesday. Regardless. adding Sugano would really bolster an SF Giants rotation that still needs help.

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