While the Tampa Bay Rays came out of the winter meetings without any moves, it didn’t take long after for them to strike. The team has signed Japanese star outfielder Yoshitomo Tsutsugo to a two-year deal worth roughly $12 million, according to The Tampa Bay Times’ Marc Topkin.
Tsutsugo, who also attracted interest from the Los Angeles Dodgers, is a 28-year-old corner outfielder who quickly rose to stardom in Japan. During the 2019 season with the Yokohama Bay Stars, he posted a .272/.388/..511 slash line with 29 home runs, 79 RBI and a .899 OPS.
It marked Tsutsugo’s seventh consecutive seasons with 20-plus homers and he just fell short of seven straight years with a .900-plus OPS.
After trading Tommy Pham earlier this winter, Tampa Bay needed a new impact bat in its lineup and Tsutsugo offers the potential to be a reliable bat in the middle of the lineup. Given the team’s love to move players around, we could see Tsutsugo all around the field this season with the Rays.