Pirates sign free agent Yoshi Tsutsugo

November 29th, 2021

The Pittsburgh Pirates today announced the signing of infielder Yoshi Tsutsugo to a one-year contract for the 2022 season. The announcement was made by General Manager Ben Cherington.

The 30-year-old Tsutsugo hit .268 (34-for-127) with eight doubles, eight home runs and 25 RBI while producing a .347 OBP and .883 OPS in 43 games with the Pirates last season after signing with Pittsburgh on August 16.

“We are excited to bring Yoshi back to Pittsburgh,” said Cherington. “Yoshi brings an extensive track record of offensive performance with power to our lineup. He is a great teammate and an insightful player with a great understanding of the game. During his short time with us, Yoshi demonstrated a willingness to challenge himself to get better, a trait that will positively influence the younger players in our clubhouse.”

Tsutsugo was a member of Tampa Bay’s Opening Day roster for the second time in his career in 2021 before being designated for assignment on May 11. He was then acquired by the Dodgers on May 15 and played in 12 games before being placed on the injured list on June 9 with a right calf strain. Tsutsugo was released by Los Angeles on August 14.

The left-handed hitting Tsutsugo played for the Yokohama DeNA BayStars in Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball Organization from 2010-19 before signing with Tampa Bay as a free agent on December 16, 2019. In his 10 seasons playing with Yokohama, Tsutsugo produced a .285 batting average, 195 doubles, 205 home runs and 613 RBI in 968 games. He led Nippon Professional Baseball in home runs (44) and shared the lead in RBI (110) in 2016 while finishing fifth in the Central League Most Valuable Player balloting that season.

A five-time All-Star in Japan, Tsutsugo lead NPB with 139 home runs and ranked third with 372 RBI over a four-year stretch from 2016-19. He also represented Japan in the 2017 World Baseball Classic, where he hit .320 (8-for-25) with three homers and eight RBI in seven games. To make room on the 40-man roster for Tsutsugo, infielder Colin Moran has been designated for assignment.