As Tomoyuki Sugano is set to sign with a Major League Baseball team before January 7 (that’s the deadline for him to put pen to paper, according to the rules) the Japanese pitcher, per outlet Hochi News, landed in the United States and is meeting with his agent. The New York Mets are one of several teams looking closely at the whole process.
The objective of the reported meeting is that the talented hurler examines the final offers from MLB teams, as he will make the transition from the Japanese league to the MLB.
According to MLB Networkâ€™s Jon Morosi, the Mets are among five teams actively pursuing the right-hander. The other clubs are the Toronto Blue Jays, the San Diego Padres, the San Francisco Giants, and the Boston Red Sox.
As the Padres have already brought Blake Snell and Yu Darvish to a group that already includes Dinelson Lamet, Chris Paddack, and, potentially, Mackenzie Gore, they could be out of the running for Sugano.
The Mets want Sugano
The Mets’ interest in Sugano appears to be real. In December, New York Post’s Joel Sherman said that a non-Mets executive told him the team had â€œas good a chance as anyoneâ€ to sign him. Sherman also said that executives tend to think that big-market teams (such as the Mets and Red Sox) will have a â€œdistinctâ€ advantage to land him.
The 31-year-old has been one of the best pitchers in Japan in the last few years and had an extremely dominant season in 2020, with a 14-2 record with a 1.97 ERA, 131 strikeouts and 25 walks in 137 1/3 innings.
He projects as a mid-rotation starter that makes a lot of sense for the Mets. He has a low-90s fastball that caps his ceiling as an ace, but given that also has elite command and a very good slider, he can be a solid two or three.