YOKOHAMA – The Yokohama BayStars have posted Yoshitomo Tsutsugo, Japan’s 2017 World Baseball Classic cleanup hitter, to the majors, the team announced on Friday.
After all 30 major league teams have been notified of the posting, Tsutsugo will have 30 days to negotiate a contract with any club willing to pay the BayStars a transfer fee equal to a percentage of his contract value.
The left-handed-hitting Tsutsugo announced his intent to move to the majors last month after 10 seasons with Yokohama. He will become the first BayStars player to successfully post should he complete the move to the big leagues.
While the BayStars have until Dec. 5 to file, team executive Kazuaki Mihara said they opted to make Tsutsugo available through the transfer system early so he can concentrate on preparing for next season.
“In discussion with his agent, we agreed the best timing would be to set the baseball winter meetings (from Dec. 8-12 in San Diego) as a target,” Mihara said.
He said he has heard that several teams likely have an interest in negotiating with the hard-hitting left fielder.
Tsutsugo would not be eligible for international free agency until the 2021 season, making the posting system the only way for him to move this winter.
This past season, Tsutsugo hit .272 with 126 hits, including 29 homers, and 79 RBIs in 557 plate appearances.
He has a .285 career batting average with 613 RBIs in 968 games. He’s drawn 80-plus walks in each of his last four seasons and has a career on-base percentage of .382.