Minnesota Twins pursuing Japanese slugger Yoshitomo Tsutsugo
By Chris Schad
After moving on from C.J. Cron, the Minnesota Twins are one of several teams looking at Japanese slugger Yoshitomo Tsutsugo.
Most of the headlines this offseason have been focused on the Minnesota Twins’ attempt to rebuild their starting rotation, the other developing story is their intent to rebuild their infield. After non-tendering C.J. Cron earlier this week, the Twins are now in the market for a first baseman and there’s a chance they could go overseas to fill that void.
MLB.com’s Jon Morosi tweeted on Thursday afternoon that the Twins are in the market for Japanese slugger Yoshitomo Tsutsugo. The 28-year old has tremendous power from the left side of the plate as he’s crushed 185 home runs for the Yokohama Bay Stars of the Japan Central League since 2014.
Last year, Tsutsugo hit .272/.388/.511 with 29 HR and 79 RBI for the Bay Stars and that was enough to have several MLB teams interested in his services. The Toronto Blue Jays and Miami Marlins had already been listed as suitors while Morosi also listed the Chicago White Sox and Detroit Tigers as teams that are also courting the first baseman.
While Tsutsugo’s bat has many scouts drooling, his defensive acumen as a first baseman and a part-time outfielder has given pause for concern. With Nelson Cruz already manning the designated hitter role for the Twins, Tsutsugo would be destined to play first with hopes that he could show enough improvement at the position to help the Minnesota defense.
In addition, Tsutsugo would be another chapter in what has been a rough history of acquiring free agents from overseas. The Twins signed Tsuyoshi Nishioka prior to the 2010 season, but the second baseman lasted just under two seasons before returning to Japan. The Twins also tried to plug ByungHo Park into their lineup in 2016, but he hit just .191 in 215 at-bats before being released.
Regardless of their past, the Twins will likely be in on several infielders as the offseason drags on and with the addition of a 26th roster spot in 2020, all options should be on the table.