Sandy Alderson New York Mets Tomoyuki Sugano
(Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)

The New York Mets are hunting for another front-line starter. They’ve turned their attention to Japanese star Tomoyuki Sugano.

Joel Sherman of the New York Post is reporting that the New York Mets are in the running for Yomiuri Giants superstar Tomoyuki Sugano.

One executive told Sherman, “Watch the Mets on this. I think they have as good a chance as anyone.”

Sugano is a perfect target for the New York Mets. He’s been an elite pitcher in Japan since 2013. He’s won two Sawamura awards, the NPB’s Cy Young award. His career ERA is just 2.32. Had Sugano come over to America a few years ago he would have been in the same category as Yu Darvish and Masahiro Tanaka.

Instead, at the age of 31, Sugano is considered a second-tier starter option. He’ll likely only be at the top of his game for one contract, and it’d be surprising if he pitched more than five or six years in the majors. Still, Sugano has the potential to fill in as a number two starter for the majority of four or even five-year deal. That makes him valuable.

The best part about the move, Sugano wouldn’t cost that much. Most Asian imports to America come at a steep discount compared to their American counterparts. Yu Darvish’s first contract was six years and $60 million. Tanaka broke the mold by signing a 7 year $155 million contract, though he was only 25 when he signed with the Yankees.

It wouldn’t be all that surprising if Sugnao ends up with contracts similar to someone like Jake Odorizzi. It makes sense that the New York Mets would prefer the higher upside play in Sugano.

According to Sherman, the New York Mets may have an advantage in their pursuit due to their market. Executives told Sherman that after playing for the “Yankees of Japan” Sugano isn’t looking for a downgrade. He wants to play in a major market. New York is as big as it gets.

Sugano is expected to sign quickly. If no team comes to an agreement with Sugano by January 7th at 5 PM then he will return to Japan. So, expect Sugano to work out an agreement with an MLB team within the next week or two.

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