Every time a superstar Japanese player is posted, the Yankees are mentioned as one of the top landing spots. This is not only due to the fact that the Yankees will oftentimes simply bring more money to proceedings, their history with turning Japanese stars like Tanaka and Hideki Matsui into studs in the pros has helped several others decide that the Yankees are worth joining. With Tanaka himself a free agent and potentially leaving after his seven-year contract expired, the Yankees could replace him with Sugano, who has a very similar player profile to Tanaka.
Tanaka was a high-level starter for seven years, often relying on a filthy splitter-slider combination. While Sugano might not have Tanaka’s fastball velocity, he more than makes up for it with a filthy breaking ball of his own and a two-seamer that even the best in the Japanese league has struggled to consistently barrel up. The Yankees are once again in win-now mode, and they could look to make up for the loss of either Tanaka or James Paxton by signing one of the most accomplish players to make the trip to the states in years.