Could Tomoyuki Sugano spurn MLB teams and return to Japan? Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

Tomoyuki Sugano could return to Japan's Yomiuri Giants

Tomoyuki Sugano is one of the hottest names in Major League Baseball free agency. However, it appears the star Japanese pitcher isn't set on joining an MLB franchise. 

According to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, Sugano could opt to return to the Yomiuri Giants of the Nippon Professional Baseball Organization. The Giants have made him a four-year offer with opt-outs, while MLB teams have offered him more money. It's unclear which way he is leaning.

According to MLB Network's Jon Morosi, the Boston Red Sox, San Francisco Giants, San Diego Padres and New York Yankees have been linked to the 31-year-old. 

Sugano has been one of Japan's best pitchers since 2013, when he joined the Giants at 23 years old. He won the Sawamura Award, which is equivalent to MLB's Cy Young Award, in 2017 and 2018. Last season, he went 14-2 with a 1.97 ERA, 0.89 WHIP and 131 strikeouts over 137.1 innings.

In his analysis of Sugano, Morosi compares the 31-year-old to Kenta Maeda and Masahiro Tanaka, while also suggesting that he could be the second-best arm on the market behind Trevor Bauer.

Erin Walsh is a Boston sports fan through and through. She graduated Summa Cum Laude from Bridgewater State University and currently is in pursuit of her Master's Degree in Journalism from Northeastern University. Follow her on Twitter @ewalsh90.

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