All major league teams can begin making their pitches to Japanese right-hander Tomoyuki Sugano after he was posted by his Nippon Professional Baseball team, the Central League's Yomiuri Giants, Major League Baseball said Monday.
MLB.com said the San Francisco Giants, San Diego Padres, New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox are among the many suitors for the 31-year-old Sugano, saying his "NPB credentials are comparable to those of Kenta Maeda and Masahiro Tanaka."
"I've got the right to negotiate, so I'll listen to some pitches, and I think I'll get several impressions from that," Sugano said during an interview at Giants Stadium in Kawasaki, Kanagawa Prefecture.
Any interested major league club can negotiate with a posted player for 30 days. The window opens at 8 a.m. eastern time on Tuesday and closes at 5 p.m. on Jan. 7, 2021.
If an agreement is reached, the Tokyo-based Giants will receive a transfer fee based on the total value of the contract that Sugano signs.
With the coronavirus pandemic resulting in a shortened 60-game regular season in the majors this year and raising concerns about the viability of next season, Sugano is also weighing his option to remain with the Giants.
"It's more about how the MLB season will be next year, rather than (signing with) a particular team," Sugano said. "I hope to settle it within the year."
"Honestly, I'm still worried since there's a lot that's out of my hands."
Sugano went 14-2 with a 1.97 ERA in 137-1/3 innings this year and won the Eiji Sawamura Award, given to Japan's most impressive starting pitcher, in 2017 and 2018. He won the CL MVP in 2014.
In his eight-year career, Sugano is 101-49 with a 2.32 ERA in 1,360 innings.
He will become the fourth Japanese player to test the major league market following free-agent reliever Hirokazu Sawamura and two players who have been posted by the Pacific League's Nippon Ham Fighters, pitcher Kohei Arihara and outfielder Haruki Nishikawa.
Until a year ago, the Yomiuri Giants had refused to let players under contract use the posting system to play in the majors. That changed when the club posted Shun Yamaguchi after the 2019 season because the organization had agreed to let him use that route to go to the majors when acquiring the pitcher as a free agent.
Sugano has long spoken of his dream of playing in the majors. But he gave up on the idea and sat out the entire 2012 season as an amateur to play for his uncle, Giants manager Tatsunori Hara, from 2013, having been drafted by the Nippon Ham Fighters in 2011.