Right handed Tomoyuki Sugano has decided to pass on the international opt-out in his contract and will stay with the Yomiuri Giants for at least one more season. Sugano has told Yahoo Japan and other media that his goal is to help the Giants win a championship in 2022.
Sugano was one of the more intriguing names in the free agent market last winter, after the Giants posted the right-hander. The Blue Jays and Padres have each made official contract offers to Sugano and at least four other teams (Rangers, Mets, Red Sox and San Francisco Giants) have shown some interest as well. However, a deal could not be reached until the end of the 30-day release window, with Sugano feeling limited both by this short time frame and by the sluggishness of the pandemic-influenced first offseason.
Yomiuri’s side ended up re-signing Sugano to a new four-year contract worth $ 40million, although Sugano was given the option to opt out after each year of that contract to pursue another chance. to sign with a Major League team. Sugano would have been a full-fledged free agent, no longer constrained by the MLB / NPB display system, and he was already old enough and with prior experience not to be subject to international signature pools.
Long one of Japanese baseball’s best pitchers, Sugano has just had a bad year by his high standards, a season cut short by injury that limited him to 115 2/3 innings. He was still pretty efficient when he pitched, posting a 3.16 ERA, 22.25% strikeout rate and 5.61% walk rate to help the Giants reach Central League Climax. Series, where they fell to eventual Japan Series champion Tokyo Yakult Swallows.
Sugano turned 32 in October and has now been delayed by injuries in two of the past three seasons, although his overall numbers are still good. These factors alone may not have stopped Sugano during a normal offseason, but with the lockdown putting everything on hold, it’s no surprise that Sugano has chosen to stay in familiar surroundings. Had he felt that things were too rushed within a 30-day release window, Sugano certainly wouldn’t have liked the rush that will follow the end of the trade freeze, as more than 200 other free agents will also fight for contracts. before the opening day.