The Tampa Bay Rays have made a splash in the international market with power-hitting Yoshitomo Tsutsugo.
Tsutsugo slashed .272/.388/.511 in 2019 for the Yokohama Bay Stars. The 28-year-old will now take his talents to another Bay as he joins the Tampa Bay Rays.
Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports the deal is for two-years and roughly $12 million.
Tsutsugo is a left-handed power hitter who plays both corner infield spots and has logged time in the outfield. Tampa Bay is openly in need of a power hitter after losing several key pieces to free agency and trade.
Tampa’s front office has pegged Tsutsugo as a great value at (an estimated) $6 million per year for a potential difference-maker of a bat. Tsutsugo is a candidate to play leftfield, third base, and DH for the Rays in 2020.
The reported $6MM/yr will make Tsutsugo the fourth highest-paid player on the Rays for 2020.
The Rays are not just getting a versatile defender with the signing, Tsutsugo has averaged 33 HR and 93 RBI over the past five years. He is a slugger with a career on-base percentage of .382.
Rays management attended a private workout during the winter meetings and evidently, they liked what they saw.
I haven’t seen the video of what they’ve seen, but below is a video of what I’ve seen. This guy is patient, explosive, and brings power to all fields. Can we please bring the enthusiasm the Japanese fans show in the video to America? You will find me in Tropicana Field this year chanting along by myself until someone joins me. Make this happen!
With one of the top pitching staffs in the league, Tampa could be putting together a formidable lineup to compete with the high-priced Yankees in the AL-East. Tsutusgo is a pure-hitting, on-base machine and adds to an increasingly dangerous Rays lineup. He profiles to replace Tommy Pham and perhaps provide a little more pop.
The Rays have already added power-bats, Hunter Renfroe (33 HRs) earlier this offseason via trade and have Austin Meadows (33 HRs) returning. Tsutsugo lengthens the lineup and the defensive versatility.
Tampa believes in Tsutsugo enough to make him the fourth-highest paid player on the team at the moment. Do you think his skills will translate to the Major Leagues? Let us know in the comments below!