It had appeared as though Yoshi Tsutsugo was on his way out of the majors before signing with the Pittsburgh Pirates last season. He had struggled with the Rays and Dodgers previously, making his stint in Pittsburgh likely his last chance. Tsutsugo made the most of that opportunity, posting a 135 OPS+ with eight homers and eight doubles in his 144 plate appearances.
Bringing Tsutsugo back to Pittsburgh made sense for both sides. He signed a one year deal worth $4 million, giving the Pirates a potential bargain if he could replicate that success while Tsutsugo received a solid payday that could be parlayed into a much better deal.
Yoshi Tsutsugo may have had last major league chance
That did not happen. Tsutsugo ended up reverting back to his previous form, posting a disappointing 37 OPS+ with just two homers and four doubles in his 193 plate appearances. Those struggles led to his being designated for assignment after the trade deadline and subsequently released over the weekend.
It is possible that a team will look to sign Tsutsugo for the prorated minimum for the rest of the year. He could catch lightning in a bottle again, providing adequate depth at both first and the corner outfield positions. After all, he was able to do so last year.
However, it is far more likely that this is the end of his time in the majors. He simply has not had any sustained success aside from that 144 plate appearance stint last year. At this point, it seems more likely than not that he will return to Nippon Professional Baseball to continue his career, heading back home where he had been a star.
The Pittsburgh Pirates made the unsurprising decision to cut bait on Yoshi Tsutsugo. His major league career may have ended at that moment as well.