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Mets: Five best international free agents the front office should consider

LAKE BUENA VISTA, FL - MARCH 08: A detailed view of the Franklin batting gloves worn by Juan Lagares #12 of the New York Mets during a spring training game against the Atlanta Braves at Champion Stadium on March 8, 2016 in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
LAKE BUENA VISTA, FL - MARCH 08: A detailed view of the Franklin batting gloves worn by Juan Lagares #12 of the New York Mets during a spring training game against the Atlanta Braves at Champion Stadium on March 8, 2016 in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
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LOS ANGELES, CA – MARCH 21: Pitcher Tomoyuki Sugano #11 of team Japan in action in the fourth inning against team United States during Game 2 of the Championship Round of the 2017 World Baseball Classic at Dodger Stadium on March 21, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

2) Tomoyuki Sugano – Right-Handed Pitcher, Japan

On December 7th, Tomoyuki Sugano was posted by his club the Yomiuri Giants of Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball League and his addition to the free-agent pool has made this offseason that much more intriguing. There has not been a more credentialed pitcher from Japan that has come stateside since Masahiro Tanaka, and Sugano is expected to field plenty of offers over the next month, as he has until January 7th to come to terms on a deal with a Major League club.

Sugano easily slides in as the second or third best available starting pitcher behind Trevor Bauer, and if the Mets come under the belief that Bauer is not going to sign with the organization, the 31-year old Sugano could be the next best option for the Mets on the free-agent market. Included in Sugano’s credentials are winning the Japanese version of the Cy Young Award, the Eiji Sawamura Award twice, he’s a three-time Gold Glove Award winner, a six-time All-Star, an MVP Award winner, and he won the Japanese Triple Crown back in 2018.

In 2020, Sugano had posted a 14-2 record with a sparkling 1.97 ERA and three shutouts, while also fanning 131 batters in 137.1 innings. This was all the more impressive after Sugano struggled with injuries back in 2019 and posted the worst ERA of his career at 3.89. For the record, his career ERA in eight seasons with the Yomiuri Giants is 2.32.

ESPN’s Kiley McDaniel believes due to the financial nature of the MLB landscape, Sugano could fetch a two-year deal around $24 million, which is certainly a feasible number for the Mets to be able to meet considering their deep pockets.

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