Milwaukee Brewers: Is Yoshitomo Tsutsugo an option at first base?

The Yokohama deNa BayStars have announced their plans to post slugger Yoshitomo Tsutsugo during the upcoming off season. Should the Milwaukee Brewers look to add Tsutsugo?

Eric Thames and Tyler Austin are the only players capable of playing first base on the Milwaukee Brewers 40-man roster right now. Thames should have his option picked up, but Austin may not get another contract in Milwaukee.

First base should be a priority this off-season for the Brewers, but is Yoshitomo Tsutsugo the answer?

What are the current posting rules?

The complex system that Major League and NPB teams had to follow ended a few years ago. In 2019, NPB teams have to notify the Commissioner’s Office that they intend to post a player. Once the posting is announce by Major League Baseball, the player has 30 days to sign a contract. Under the new rules, the player can negotiate with every team in the league, but the posting fee is determined by the contract the player signs.

Is Tsutsugo any good?

Yes, he’s a capable hitter.

Tsutsugo has spent time at first base, third base, and left field during his 10 seasons in Yokohama. He started his professional career in 2010 when he was only 18 years old. He’ll turn 28 years old before the end of the year.

In his 10 seasons with Yokohama, Tsutsugo posted a .285/.382/.528 slash line in exactly 4,000 plate appearances. He’s bashed over 200 homers, while only stealing six bases in 10 attempts for his career. He broke out in a big way in 2016 with a 44-homer, 110-RBI, 1.011 OPS season for the BayStars.

How would Tsutsugo fit in with the Brewers

Tsutsugo only makes sense for the Milwaukee Brewers if Thames’ 2020 option is declined. Tsutsugo would likely need to play first base full time in the Majors. He’s also a lefty. Does that sound familiar? Tsutsugo has a very similar profile to Thames, and it doesn’t make sense for both to be on the roster.

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If the Milwaukee Brewers choose to move on from Thames, Tsutsugo could be an option. However, at this point it makes more sense for the Brewers to retain Thames and look to spend elsewhere this upcoming off season. They can find a right-handed platoon partner for Thames easier than they can sign Tsutsugo and pay the posting fee.