According to a report from Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times, the Tampa Bay Rays are closing in on a two year deal with Japanese outfielder, Yoshitomo Tsutsugo.
BREAKING: #Rays finalizing deal to sign Japanese OF/INF/DH Yoshitomo Tsutsugo, a lefty power bat. Two-year deal would be in range of $12M, plus posting fee (about another $2.4M)— Marc Topkin (@TBTimes_Rays) December 13, 2019
Draysbay writer Homin Lee has been all over the Rays pursuit of Tsutsugo, saying the Rays should be interested back in November. Tsutsugo has been compared to several players currently in the big leagues, with the names of Kyle Schwarber and Justin Smoak being tossed around, but with his defensive position a moving target.
Tsutsugo has been working out with Gold Glove winner Nolan Arenado this offseason at third base, but should also see time in the outfield, as well as potentially the Designated Hitter role. The Rays willingness to sign a player without a defensive home signals that they strongly believe in his bat enough to make anything work.
During the Winter Meetings this past week, the Rays were among several teams that were at a private workout for Tsutsugo in San Diego and came away impressed. Tsutsugo just turned 28 years old in November, and is coming stateside after spending 10 seasons as a star in the Nippon Professional Baseball.
Tsutsugo made his professional debut in Japan at the age of 18 and over the past decade he has hit .284/.382/.525 with 205 home runs.
Per source, Tsutsugo had bigger offers on the table, but decided the Rays were a better fit. Great spot for him.— Mark Feinsand (@Feinsand) December 13, 2019
The reported deal is for two years and with an estimated $12M going to Tsutsugo and the Rays paying a posting fee of $2.4M to the Yokohama DeNA BayStars.