One of the few bright spots from the Pittsburgh Pirates’ 2021 season came from 1B/OF Yoshi Tsutsugo. In 144 plate appearances with the team, the 29-year-old slugger hit .268/.347/.545 with eight home runs, eight doubles, and one triple. Although his defense was suspect at best, Yoshi brought some much-needed pop to the Pirates’ offense. At this current moment, Tsutsugo is a free agent. That said, according to Alex Stumpf of DK Pittsburgh Sports, the Pirates and Tsutsugo have been in contact.
The Pirates and Yoshi Tsutsugo have been talking "quite a bit," per source, but there is no deal in place yet. Ben Cherington has been very open about the team's interest in re-signing him, and Tsutsugo said multiple times towards the end of the season he wants to play stateside.— Alex Stumpf (@AlexJStumpf) November 15, 2021
2021 was a tale of two seasons for Tsutsugo. In 38 games split between the Tampa Bay Rays and Los Angeles Dodgers, Yoshi hit .155/.256/.194 with 39 strikeouts over 118 plate appearances (33 percent). In Pittsburgh, Yoshi was able to cut back the strikeout rate to just 22 percent. When able to make contact, Tsutsugo is a solid hitter. In 2021, his hard-hit rate hovered around 37 percent (39 percent with the Pirates). If I had to guess, bringing back Tsutsugo has to be a top priority for Pittsburgh this offseason.
If brought back, Yoshi would have ample opportunities at the plate. Although he isn’t great or even average in either corner outfield spot, the Pirates need the offense bad enough to where they would sacrifice the defense. Tsutsugo can also split time with Colin Moran at first base. More than likely though, when a CBA agreement is reached, whenever that might be, the designated hitter will be universal in both the American and National League. Yoshi would slot perfectly as the Pirates every day DH.
Let’s not get ahead of ourselves though. An agreement between the two sides still needs to be reached. If I had to guess, a one-year deal somewhere in the $5-8 million range will get a deal done.