During a media scrum prior to tonight’s game, Jays manager eluded to the reports about the club signing Tsutsugo to a MiLB deal, “Obviously it’s an interesting add, a left-handed bat that can that can offer a variety of different things… Seeing how it goes and definitely like it.”
The lefty batting Japanese product was most recently a member of the Pittsburgh Pirates organization but was designated for assignment on August 3rd and released just days later.
So far this year, Tsutsugo owns a .171/.249/.229 slash line with two home runs, 19 RBI, and a .478 OPS through 170 at-bats over the course of 50 games. Defensively, Tsutsugo split his time between first base and in the designated hitter role but did spend some time in right field last season. He currently owns a -1.6 bWAR for his career.
After spending ten seasons in the Nippon Baseball League with the Yokohama DeNA BayStars, Tsutsugo joined the Tampa Bay Rays during the 2019/2020 offseason on a two-year deal worth $12 million. Known for the ability to hit the long ball, as evident by his five seasons of 20+ home runs before leaving for the MLB, Tsutsugo struggled with the Rays, owning a .708 OPS with just eight home runs in his first season.
The Toronto Blue Jays will reportedly be adding a left-handed bat into the organization depth in former Pirates infielder Yoshi Tsutsugo.
The second season did not fair much better and the Rays traded him to the Los Angeles Dodgers midway through the year, who would then release him almost two years ago to the day. The first baseman would sign with the Pirates for the remainder of the year and rejoined the squad on a one-year deal worth $4 million before being DFA’d just under two weeks ago.
The Blue Jays are restocking the cupboards a bit in AAA with the Tsutsugo signing, adding a lefty-bat that has struggled to find power since signing in the MLB a few offseasons ago. He will join the Bisons and will likely be splitting time between 1B and the DH role for the remainder of the season. This news comes on the heels of the announcement that outfielder George Springer has been activated from the IL with outfielder Bradley Zimmer being designated for assignment.