Tampa Bay Rays Sign Japanese Outfielder Yoshitomo Tsutsugo

Yoshitomo Tsutsugo
TOKYO, JAPAN - MARCH 08: Outfielder Yoshitomo Tsutsugoh #25 of Japan hits a two-run homer in the top of the eighth inning during the World Baseball Classic Pool B Game Three between Japan and Australia at Tokyo Dome on March 8, 2017 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Atsushi Tomura/Getty Images)

Tampa Bay Rays Sign Japanese Outfielder Yoshitomo Tsutsugo

The Tampa Bay Rays have signed Japanese outfielder Yoshitomo Tsutsugo. The deal is for two years and 12 million dollars. Tsutsugo is the second outfielder the Rays have added this offseason.

Welcome To The Majors Tsutsugo

Yoshitomo Tsutsugo is a left-handed hitting outfielder who has played 10 seasons with the Yokohama DeNA BayStars. Tsutsugo has a career batting average of .284 with 205 HR and 615 RBI in 978 games. Tsutsugo made his debut in the Nippon league at 18 years old.

In his career with the BayStars, he is the youngest player to reach 100, 150, and 200 career HR. In 2016 he also became the first player to have three straight multiple HR games. Later on, in that same month, he became the first player in the Nippon Professional Baseball league history to have six multiple HR games.

Tsutsugo played in the 2017 World Baseball Classic. He was named the Pool B Most Valuable Player. Since becoming a full-time player in 2014 Tsutsogo has hit at least 22 HR every season. His lowest RBI total during that same time is 79. Tsutsogo can also play at third base and be used as a DH. After the 2019 season, the BayStars allowed Tsutsugo to enter the posting system.

Tampa Bay Rays Outlook

The Tampa Bay Rays certainly know how to spot talent. With their low payroll and the ability to spot gems who can serve multiple purposes, Tsutsogo seems like a great fit. Not only can he be a power bat but he provides the lineup flexibility the Rays love to have.

Despite having to pay a posting fee to the BayStars of around 2.4 million on top of the 12 million dollar contract the Rays feel Tsutsogo is worth the cost. The Rays also added outfielder Hunter Renfroe from the San Diego Padres in a four-player trade. In that trade outfielder, Tommy Pham was sent to the Padres.

Ace pitcher Blake Snell did not seem to like losing Pham but the Rays have a knack for being right more times than not. The Rays are faced with the challenge of having to compete with the big market teams in their division. While the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox have high payrolls, the Rays are forced to play within a low budget. But no other team is better than the Rays at getting the most bang for their bucks.

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