The SF Giants were reportedly in talks to re-sign veteran bat Yoshi Tsutsugo in November, but there had not been much heard on that front since then. On Monday, it was reported that the Giants had agreed to a minor league deal with Tsutsugo according to Yuki Yamada of Sankei Sports.
SF Giants reportedly re-sign former NPB star to minors pact with camp invite
Interestingly, this deal will include a camp invite, so he will compete for a spot on the Opening Day roster. The Giants signed the left-handed hitter late in the year, which is an odd time for minor league additions. It happens, but it is uncommon and usually done with intent.
For the Giants, they like what Tsutsugo brings to the table despite limited success against major league pitching. In fact, another report suggests that there was a "high possibility" that the Giants could have added him to the roster in the final week of the season.
However, the 32-year-old suffered a fractured thumb in a game against the Salt Lake Bees on September 23 that sidelined him for the remainder of the year. The thumb has fully recovered and he has resumed baseball activities.
Prior to coming stateside, Tsutusgo enjoyed a lengthy and successful career with the Yokohama Bay Stars of the NPB. Across 10 NPB seasons, he registered a .281/.372/.511 line while blasting at least 20 home runs in eight of those years.
The lefty bat signed with the Tampa Bay Rays on a two-year, $12 million deal prior to the 2020 season. He struggled during his time with the Rays before having brief stints with the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Los Angeles Dodgers. In parts of three major league seasons, he has posted a .630 OPS, but this does come with a solid 11.6 percent walk rate.
Upon joining the Giants organization, Tsutsugo tallied a 1.014 OPS in 55 plate appearances in Double-A before earning a brief opportunity in Triple-A that ended with a fractured thumb.
The veteran bat turned down a chance to return to the NPB by re-signing with the Giants. His primary positions include first base and left field. San Francisco has several options at either position, so it is going to be a tough task for him to break camp with the club.