The SF Giants are reportedly finalists for Japanese hurler Tomoyuki Sugano, but will they meet his asking price?
According to Jeff Passan of ESPN (subscription required), the SF Giants “are not expected to pay Sugano what he desires.”
This is the latest development in a market that has seemingly been whittled down to just three teams including the Giants, Toronto Blue Jays, and Boston Red Sox. The New York Mets and San Diego Padres were included as finalists at the end of December, but they seem to be looking elsewhere to bolster their respective rosters.
Of course, a lot can change over the next 48 hours. Sugano was originally posted by the Yomiuri Giants of the Japanese Central League (JPCL) on December 7, 2020. The 31-year-old and his representatives have until Thursday to work out a deal or else his posting period expires, and he will have to return to the Yomiuri Giants.
Sugano has carved out an excellent career in the JPCL where he has appeared in eight seasons with the 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 features 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.
The Giants still need a lot of starting rotation depth, and the interest in Sugano makes a lot of sense. As currently constructed, San Francisco will roll out Johnny Cueto, Kevin Gausman, Logan Webb, and Anthony DeSclafani as the top four rotation arms. On top of this, Tyler Beede should return from Tommy John surgery at some point, and both Sean Hjelle and Tristan Beck could be knocking on the door soon enough.
With that being said, the latest news is a bit of a blow to a team that appeared to be in a good position to reel in the Japanese ace. A lot can change between now and Thursday, but the odds of signing Sugano are seemingly fading. Nevertheless, they are still in the mix, so a last-minute deal can still be reached.