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Friday, December 13, 2019

Rays sign Japanese outfielder Yoshitomo Tsutsugo to two-year deal

The Tampa Bay Rays have agreed to terms with outfielder and first baseman Yoshitomo Tsutsugo, reports Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times. Topkins adds that the deal will be worth roughly $12 million over two years in addition to the posting fee of around $2.4 million.

Tsutsugo, who recently turned 28, has spent the last 10 seasons with the Yokohama Bay Stars of Japan’s Central League. Over that span, he’s batted .284/.382/.525 with 205 home runs and 514 unintentional walks in 4,040 plate appearances. He’s hit 139 of those home runs over the last four seasons.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: December 13, 2019 at 08:46 PM | 10 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: rays

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   1. John Northey Posted: December 13, 2019 at 10:17 PM (#5908624)
Typical Rays signing - low cost, low risk, high potential reward. $14.4 million over 2 years is not much in MLB terms, even on the Rays budget. If this guy hits anywhere near what he did in Japan though they will easily do well on it. Hideki Matsui is the player who came to my mind when this guy showed up on the radar. He hit .304/413/582 in Japan, a bit better than Tsutsugo. Over 10 years in the majors he hit 282/360/462, but for the Rays what matters most is in his first 2 years he hit 292/371/477 - lost 105 Slg, 42 OBP, 12 Avg. If Tsutsugo does the same you'd be looking at a 272/340/420 line which should be acceptable - not wow, but for $7 mil a year nice enough.
   2. PreservedFish Posted: December 13, 2019 at 10:26 PM (#5908627)
But they already have Nate Lowe. And Jim-Man Choi. I don't get it.
   3. Fernigal McGunnigle Posted: December 14, 2019 at 08:58 AM (#5908665)
They have Lowe, Choi, Meadows, and now Tsutsugo to handle DH/1B/LF/RF. If one of Choi or Tsutsugo can handle LF then they should be good.
   4. PreservedFish Posted: December 14, 2019 at 09:24 AM (#5908666)
Yeah but I don't think either can really. Tsutsugo sounds like a butcher, and Choi is a pretty big boy. Looking at their depth chart, what they really need is a competent outfielder. Kiermaier goes down annually, and even if he didn't there appears to be no reasonable 4th outfielder yet.
   5. Der-K: at 10% emotional investment Posted: December 14, 2019 at 09:59 AM (#5908669)
Clay Davenport (who I think tends to come in a little high on these things) projects him as a .254/.324/.456. I’ll note that Matsui was, relative to league, always a considerably better hitter in NPB than was Tsutsugo, who is also coming off a bit of a down year (especially wrt k rate). That said, there are very, very few decent hitting lefty bats who are neither past prime nor cost eight figures this offseason, which I suspect contributed a bit to the price here. Also, and this is completely unfounded on my part, I feel like he might be able to unlock a bit more production - he hits the ball very hard.

Lastly, my impression on D is less that he’s a butcher and more that he has no range.
   6. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: December 14, 2019 at 10:44 AM (#5908676)
The Rays just sign good players to reasonable deals. He'll probably succeed.
   7. Walt Davis Posted: December 14, 2019 at 02:24 PM (#5908714)
They have Lowe, Choi, Meadows, and now Tsutsugo to handle DH/1B/LF/RF. If one of Choi or Tsutsugo can handle LF then they should be good.

All 4 of those guys are LHB which is a bit odd. There's also Hunter Renfroe who is at least RHB. Maybe they think that with the new pitching rules, nobody will carry LHP in the pen. I suspect somebody in that bunch gets traded in one of their weird deals.
   8. DCA Posted: December 14, 2019 at 03:09 PM (#5908721)
I think Lowe starts in AAA and pretty quickly the situation is resolved through injury or poor performance by one of these guys.

Have X + 1 guys for X roster slots is not a problem. Especially when none of the guys has a particularly long track record of health and performance.

I think it's more likely that they get a year's worth of OF work from B.Lowe, Wendle, O'Grady, et al than that they have trouble finding enough PT for those five.
   9. Joe Bivens, Slack Rumped Rutabaga Head Posted: December 14, 2019 at 03:56 PM (#5908730)
there appears to be no reasonable 4th outfielder yet.

Brock Holt is available.
   10. Qufini Posted: December 14, 2019 at 05:46 PM (#5908739)
Dammit! I was hoping the Blue Jays would sign Tsutsugo. He has a lot more upside than a return engagement from free agent Justin Smoak.

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