Red Sox

Report: Sox to be 'aggressive' in pursuing Japanese star Sugano

Red Sox

The Boston Red Sox' search for pitching help is going global.

The Red Sox have "extensive scouting reports" on Tomoyuki Sugano and "intend to be aggressive in their pursuit" of the Japanese right-hander, Sean McAdam of the Boston Sports Journal reported over the weekend.

Sugano was posted by the Yomiuri Giants of the Nippon Professional Baseball league Tuesday morning, according to MLB Network's Jon Morosi, meaning any major league team can sign the star pitcher by paying a release fee to the Giants.

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The Red Sox will have plenty of competition for Sugano, per Morosi, who reports the San Francisco Giants, San Diego Padres and New York Yankees also have interest in the 31-year-old.

So, what's the skinny on Sugano?

Sugano won the Sawamura Award -- NPB's equivalent of the Cy Young Award -- in 2017 and 2018 and posted a 1.97 ERA with a 0.89 WHIP over 137.1 innings for the Giants in 2020.

According to Morosi, Sugano has "elite" control of an arsenal that includes a low-90s fastball, a strong slider, a forkball and a changeup. Morosi compares Sugano's NPB pedigree to those of Kenta Maeda and Masahiro Tanaka and suggests the pitcher might be the best arm on the market behind Cy Young Award winner Trevor Bauer.

Here's a highlight video that includes a look at Sugano's unique windup:

The Red Sox famously signed Daisuke Matsuzaka in 2007 (after winning his rights with a massive $51 million bid) and haven't acquired a Japanese player of his stature since.

 

Boston has yet to sign an impact arm to bolster its thin rotation, though, so perhaps it will pony up for the next great pitcher to come out of Japan.