Japanese star Tomoyuki Sugano reportedly arrived in the United States last week as his posting window was getting closer to expiring. It was, uhh, not a great time to be getting an up-close view of a different country, and on Thursday the right-hander decided he would stay in Japan for at least another season.
Sugano, loosely connected to the San Francisco Giants in recent weeks, will return to Nippon Professional Baseball and continue pitching for the Yomiuri Giants, according to Jeff Passan of ESPN. Sugano, 31, reportedly has a four-year offer from the Yomiuri Giants on the table that would allow him to opt-out as soon as next offseason.
The San Francisco Giants will be looking for starting pitching then and are looking for it now, which is what made Sugano, a two-time MVP in Japan, an ideal target. He had until 2 p.m. Thursday to sign with an MLB team, and the Giants had been connected by national reporters, along with the Toronto Blue Jays, Boston Red Sox, New York Mets, San Diego Padres and others. None of the suitors ever appeared to get close, though.
It's unclear if the Giants made an offer to Sugano.
The Giants already have re-signed Kevin Gausman this offseason and added former Reds right-hander Anthony DeSclafani, but they still have a hole in their rotation. Sugano was thought to be the second-best starter available. The best is Trevor Bauer, who remains unsigned, but sources have said in recent weeks that the Giants do not appear to be one of Bauer's top suitors.
Masahiro Tanaka, James Paxton and Jake Odorizzi are among the next tier of available starters. The Giants have also been active in trade discussions and could add a starter that way.