Major League Baseball

Reports: Rays to sign Japanese slugger Tsutsugo

mlb2The Tampa Bay Rays will add a potential middle-of-the-order bat after agreeing to a two-year, $12 million contract with Japanese slugger Yoshitomo Tsutsugo, according to multiple reports Friday.

The Rays also will owe his former Japanese team, Yokohama, a 20 percent release fee — $2.4 million.

The 28-year-old Tsutsugo is a lefty hitter who has slugged 205 home runs in 978 games for Yokohama since 2010. He hit a career-best 44 home runs in 133 games in 2016 and followed with 28 homers a year later, 38 in 2018 and 29 last season.

Tsutsugo has a career batting average of .284 with 615 RBIs and a .382 on-base percentage. He is expected to be able to play left field and third base, as well as rotate at designated hitter, giving the Rays another flexible roster option.

Tampa Bay personnel, including manager Kevin Cash, attended Tsutsugo’s private workout during the recent Winter Meetings in San Diego.

Tsutsugo batted .320 with three home runs in seven games for Japan at the 2017 World Baseball Classic.

–Field Level Media

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