“I think they thought it was unlikely that I would be called up and play 메이저놀이터“
Yoshitomo Tsutsugo broke into the professional ranks in 2009 when he was selected by the Yokohama DeNA Basestars in the Nippon Professional Baseball First-Year Player Draft. Tsutsugo struggled to make an impact in his rookie year, but he broke out in 2011, hitting eight home runs in 40 games in his second year, and began to see more playing time in the 2012 season, with his talent really blossoming in 2014.
After struggling to hit in the low 20s in his rookie year, Tsutsugo burst onto the scene in 2014, hitting .300 with 22 homers, 77 RBIs, 58 runs scored, and a .902 OPS in 114 games. He followed that up in 2015 with 24 home runs, 93 RBIs, and a .317 OPS and .922 batting average, and in 2016 he exploded for 151 hits, 44 home runs, 110 RBIs, 89 runs scored, and a .322 OPS and 1.110 batting average in 133 games to win the Central League home run title.
Tsutsugo went on to play three more seasons in a Yokohama DeNA uniform before making the jump to the major leagues after the 2019 season. He signed a two-year, $12 million contract with the Tampa Bay Rays to play in the big leagues, but he struggled to a .197 batting average in his rookie season and didn’t improve in the 2021 season, prompting Tampa Bay to release him after 77 games.
After Tsutsugo’s time with Tampa Bay came to an end, the Los Angeles Dodgers made an offer. However, even with the Dodgers, Tsutsugo was unable to showcase the skills he had in Nippon Professional Baseball. Just when it looked like Tsutsugo’s major league career was coming to an end, the Pittsburgh Pirates made a move, and his performance in Pittsburgh was certainly impressive. In his first 43 games with the Pirates, Tsutsugo heated up, batting .268 with 34 doubles, eight home runs, and a .882 OPS.
Tsutsugo became a free agent again after the 2021 season when his two-year contract expired and was offered a three-year deal by Pittsburgh, but he opted to sign a one-year short-term deal with the Pirates in hopes of a bigger deal after showing more promise. However, Tsutsugo was once again released after failing to produce in the second half of the 2021 season, batting .171 in 50 games.
With nowhere else to go, Tsutsugo signed a minor league deal with the Texas Rangers ahead of the 2023 season, hoping to break into the big leagues again. However, despite hitting .249 with six home runs and an OPS of .812 in 42 games for the Triple-A Round Rock Express this year, he never received a call-up to the big leagues and decided to leave the organization via an “opt-out” on March 23.
Koji Uehara, who played 21 seasons in Japan and the major leagues, compiling a career record of 134 wins, 103 losses and 128 saves, told Japan’s TBS’s “Sunday Morning” on Friday, “Of course, Tsutsugo will have the feeling of ‘in Japan’. But he has a strong desire to play in the United States. I think he can still play in the major leagues 토토사이트추천.”
He hopes to play in the U.S., but why did he decide to leave Triple-A Round Rock, Texas? Uehara said, “I think he decided that the chances of being called up to the major leagues were slim, and that the chances of getting playing time in Triple-A were slim, so he opted out of his contract,” meaning he’ll move on to another team and try to get a major league call-up.
For now, the odds are stacked against Tsutsugo returning to Nippon Professional Baseball, including his “home team” the Yokohama DeNA. Even if Tsutsugo wanted to return, there’s no room for him on the roster right now. He would likely have to play in the outfield in order to get playing time with the team, which has an established infield.
Japanese magazine FRIDAY DIGITAL reported on Friday that the Yomiuri Giants are interested in Tsutsugo, saying, “Even if he signs with a major league team, there’s a chance he could be released again by the end-of-July supplemental deadline, and he’s likely to become a free agent after this season,” but there’s not much evidence to back that up. The former Japanese ‘home run king’, who earned $16 million (about 209 billion won) in the U.S. until last year, hasn’t been able to make much of an impact and is being criticized for it.