The Toronto Blue Jays spent much of the last week being linked to former Los Angeles Dodgers starter Hyun-Jin Ryu, but it appears they have zigged when the rest of the league expected them to zag. According to multiple sources, the Jays are close to a deal with Japanese starting pitcher Shun Yamaguchi.
#BlueJays targeting Japanese right-hander Shun Yamaguchi, sources tell The Athletic. Deadline for him to sign is tomorrow. Deal already might be in place.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) December 17, 2019
Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic mentioned the team was targeting Yamaguchi, building off of reports from Japanese media that a deal was already in place between the two sides. Sanspo.com reports the deal would be worth roughly $3M annually over two years.
The right-hander spent last season with the Yomiyuri Giants of the NPB, posting a 2.78 ERA with 194 strikeouts and 64 walks over 181 innings.
The 32-year-old forkball pitcher was posted in mid-November by the Giants, with Wednesday being the deadline to have a major league deal in place. If the deal is worked out in time, the Blue Jays will owe the Japanese Giants 20 percent of the guarantee as a transfer fee.
Yamaguchi has pitched in the NPB for 14 seasons with the Giants as well as the Yokohama Bay Stars, working as both a starter and reliever. In 431 career games he holds a 3.33 lifetime ERA as well as 112 saves, with his success deriving mainly from his ability to keep the ball in the yard with a 0.8 HR/9 rate.
According to Shi Davidi of Sportsnet, the two teams have reached an agreement pending physical.
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