Highly sought-after Yomiuri Giants ace Tomoyuki Sugano has asked the Central League club to make him available to major league teams via the posting system, a source with knowledge of the matter said Thursday.
The news comes a week after the Giants revealed they would allow the 31-year-old right-hander to use the system to negotiate with major league clubs. Posted players have a 30-day window to sign a contract with any major league club or return to their Japanese team.
Sugano led Japan in wins this season with 14 and is a two-time winner of the Eiji Sawamura Award as Japan’s most impressive starting pitcher. His calling card is his extremely consistent command and a superior slider to go with a good fastball and forkball, and he is expected to be an impact player.
He will become the fourth Japanese player to test the major league market following free agent reliever Hirokazu Sawamura, and a pair of players who have been posted by the Pacific League’s Nippon Ham Fighters, ace pitcher Kohei Arihara and center fielder Haruki Nishikawa.
Until a year ago, the Giants, Japan’s oldest pro franchise, had refused to let their players under contract use the posting system to play in the majors. That changed when the club posted Shun Yamaguchi after the 2019 season, because the organization had agreed to let him use that route to go to the majors when acquiring the pitcher as a free agent.
Sugano has long spoken of his dream of playing in the majors but sacrificed that dream and his entire 2012 season in order to play for his uncle, Giants manager Tatsunori Hara, from 2013. Since joining the Giants, Sugano has compiled a career record of 101-49 with a 2.32 ERA.
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