The Yomiuri Giants of Nippon Professional Baseball posted right-hander Tomoyuki Sugano on Dec. 8, but he didn't reach an agreement with a Major League club before the 5 p.m. ET deadline on Jan. 7. He won't be eligible to do so again until next offseason.
Below is a list of the latest news and rumors surrounding the 31-year-old, who has gone 101-49 with a 2.32 ERA and 1,214 strikeouts in 1,360 innings during his eight-year career in Japan.
Sugano doesn't agree to deal before deadline
Jan. 7: Sugano didn't reach an agreement with a Major League club prior to Thursday's 5 p.m. deadline, a source told MLB.com's Mark Feinsand. As a result, he won't be eligible to do so again until next offseason.
Sugano agreed to a four-year deal with three opt-outs with the Yomiuri Giants. More >
Sugano's decision still a question mark
Jan. 6: With Thursday's deadline looming for Sugano to work out a deal with an MLB club, there's still a possibility the right-hander will return to Japan in 2021, MLB Network insider Ken Rosenthal reports for The Athletic (subscription required).
According to Rosenthal, Sugano "seems intent on getting the value he believes he deserves as a two-time winner of the Sawamura Award" -- likely a deal comparable to if not better than the four-year, $56 million contract Yusei Kikuchi got from the Mariners two offseasons ago. But Rosenthal adds that, to this point, Sugano is still not getting the offer he wants.
One team that may have made a strong bid for Sugano is the Blue Jays, and Sportsnet's Ben Nicholson-Smith adds that Toronto appears to be "at the forefront" of negotiations while the Padres, Twins and Yankees also look like fits based on roster needs. The Mets, Red Sox and Giants do not appear to be making a strong push, a source told Nicholson-Smth.
If Sugano returns to the Yomiuri Giants, he would be able to test the MLB waters again next offseason if the market is in a stronger place, thanks to the opt-outs Yomiuri's offer includes.
Report: Sugano might not sign with MLB team
Jan. 5: Sugano has the arsenal, track record, hardware and skill set to provide quite a boost to an MLB team’s rotation in 2021 and beyond. He could be one of this offseason’s biggest pickups -- that is, if a team actually signs him.
That is not a given. In fact, ESPN’s Jeff Passan reported Tuesday (subscription required) that, “there is an increasingly realistic possibility” that the right-hander does not agree to a deal with an MLB club prior to Thursday’s 5 p.m. ET deadline. Instead, Sugano could return to his Nippon Professional Baseball team, the Yomiuri Giants, who have offered him a four-year contract with opt-out clauses after each season. While Sugano would be taking a risk that injury or a decline in performance would prevent a future jump to the Majors, he also could benefit from having another strong season in Japan and testing the waters again a year from now.
According to Passan, Sugano is “not budging on his asking price,” so interested teams -- a list that is said to include the Giants, Red Sox, Angels and Blue Jays -- will have to meet those terms to land him for 2021.
Report: Mets no longer in on Sugano
Jan. 4: MLB teams like the Giants and Blue Jays are in on Sugano, but the Mets might be out, according to reports Monday from MLB Network insiders Jon Heyman and Joel Sherman.
Heyman reports that the Mets have been in contact with Sugano, but that "it appears their main focus is elsewhere." Sherman, meanwhile, says the Mets are simply not in on Sugano. The Mets were previously reported to be interested in the veteran right-hander.
Heyman thinks Sugano's decision will come soon. The deadline for Sugano to work out a deal with an MLB team is Thursday at 5 p.m. ET, or he could also return to the Yomiuri Giants, who have reportedly extended him a four-year offer.
Source: Sugano has offers from Yomiuri Giants, MLB clubs on the table
Jan. 3: With Sugano's 5 p.m. ET deadline on Thursday fast approaching, it appears he'll have no shortage of options to choose from. A source tells MLB.com's Mark Feinsand that the right-hander's former NPB club, the Yomiuri Giants, have extended him a four-year offer -- but Sugano also has more lucrative MLB offers on the table, too.
New Padres infielder Ha-Seong Kim and new Mets catcher James McCann are the only free agents who have signed deals longer than two years at this point of the offseason, and so Feinsand's report reflects the strong interest in Sugano. As MLB Network insider Joel Sherman explains, the three opt-outs in Yomiuri's offer would allow Sugano to test the MLB market again in subsequent offseasons, but to this point the assumption is that Sugano signs with an MLB club by Thursday. MLB Network insider Ken Rosenthal speculates that a deal is likely within the next couple days.