Dodgers Should Get In On Tomoyuki Sugano Sweepstakes

Photo Credit: New York Post

It’s been reported by MLB Network Correspondent J.P. Morosi that Japanese star pitcher Tomoyuki Sugano was posted on Tuesday at 8 am ET. With the Dodgers possibly in need of pitching depth behind Walker Buehler and Clayton Kershaw, Sugano could be that answer to fill out the rotation.

Fans within the United States got to see a flash of what Sugano could do on the big stage against team USA in the World Baseball Classic in 2017 when he went 6 innings without allowing a run while racking up 6 strikeouts. It was done at Dodger Stadium against hitters such as Paul Goldschmidt, Eric Hosmer, Daniel Murphy, and Nolan Arenado to show that Sugano definitely has some minor experience with big league hitters and making them guessing with his strong 4-pitch mix of a fastball, slider, forkball, and changeup. In Japan, Sugano went 14-2 with an ERA of 1.92 across 137.1 innings of work while drawing comparisons of former Dodger Kenta Maeda and Masahiro Tanaka, which is pretty good company considering both of their baseball journeys in baseball right now. According to Morosi’s article, some scouts have Sugano in the tier right below Trevor Bauer in terms of pitching talent, which if the Dodgers strikeout on Bauer, Sugano could be their next choice.

The one thing that is complicated within signing Sugano is that the Dodgers will also have to pay the team that posted him, the Yomiuri Giants, who will receive a certain amount of money based on the guaranteed money Sugano gets. That makes his services even more expensive, so teams interested in him will have to really figure out how much they’re willing to spend on a second-tier pitcher. In the same article by Morosi, former Yankee and teammate of Sugano, Zelous Wheeler, stated this on the Japanese star pitcher, “He should translate very well to MLB. He’s hardworking and gets along well with his teammates, both Japanese and foreign players.” Given where he is in terms of talent, he should fall right behind Buehler and Kershaw in the rotation as the number 3 starter, which helps fill out some of the rotation with Dustin May and Tony Gonsolin in the 4 and 5 spots in the rotation. Right now, it’s being reported that the teams interested in Sugano are the San Francisco Giants, San Diego Padres, New York Yankees, and Boston Red Sox, so the Dodgers will have some stiff competition if they are to try and land him.

With two teams in the Giants and the Padres being directly linked to Sugano, it would be the perfect opportunity for the Dodgers to convince Sugano to sign with them and steal them from their division rivals. The Dodgers certainly have the names and talent to present to Sugano on a sales pitch, and being one of the places that he’s pitched before in Dodger stadium, the team could persuade him just based on the comfortable environment and him knowing he doesn’t have to be the ace in the rotation. The money would be the next deciding factor as with the Yankees and Red Sox being rumored to be in the mix, Sugano won’t be relatively cheap but shouldn’t cost more than a Trevor Bauer, as mentioned before. This would be a great opportunity for the Dodgers to swoop in on Sugano and take him to not only bolster their rotation but making sure he doesn’t pitch against them as well.

Jacob Cisneros is a writer for Dodgers-LowDown. You can find him on Twitter and Instagram @_JacobCisneros.