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The Mets emerge as a potential destination for Tomoyuki Sugano

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Many consider the 31-year-old righty the best pitcher in Japan

In their quest to strengthen the starting rotation, the Mets have emerged as a potential landing spot for Tomoyuki Sugano, according to Joel Sherman. Sugano has pitched professionally for Tokyo’s Yomiuri Giants for the last eight seasons, putting up a 2.32 career ERA and winning the NPB Central League’s MVP award in 2014.

Sugano popped up on American radars during the 2017 World Baseball Classic where he pitched six innings against The United States in the semifinals, giving up three hits and an unearned run in Japan’s eventual knockout loss. Steve wrote an extended piece on the 31-year-old ace last month that dives into Sugano’s history and scouting profile.

The Giants formally posted Sugano on December 7th, making him available to negotiate with major league teams. If the Mets were to sign Sugano, they would also have to pay a posting fee to the Giants, adding up to a percentage of his contract that fluctuates based on the contract’s value.

Sherman notes that the Mets seem ‘intent, if possible’ on adding two starters this winter, which would allow a return to the bullpen for Seth Lugo, and would leave Steven Matz as a swingman. The Mets’ rotation currently projects to contain Jacob deGrom, Marcus Stroman, David Peterson, and the aforementioned Lugo and Matz, if no moves were to be made to fortify the pitching staff.