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Nippon Professional Baseball right-hander Tomoyuki Sugano did not reach an agreement with a major league team before his 5 p.m. ET posting deadline Thursday, Jeff Passan of ESPN reports. That means Sugano will remain in Japan in 2021, though he will be eligible to come to MLB as a free agent next winter.

NPB’s Yomiuri Giants posted the 31-year-old Sugano for major league clubs a month ago, and with the likes of Kevin Gausman and Marcus Stroman off the free-agent board, Sugano looked like one of the most appealing starters available on the open market. As a result, several teams – including the Padres, Giants, Mets, Blue Jays, Rangers and Red Sox – vied for Sugano in recent weeks. The Padres were even in negotiations with Sugano on Thursday, Bob Nightengale of USA Today tweets. In the end, though, neither they nor any other big league club could pry him from his homeland.

Sugano will remain a member of the Yomiuri Giants, with whom he has dominated since making his pro debut in 2013. Sugano owns a stellar 2.34 ERA over 1,362 innings with the Giants, and he has won two MVPs and a pair of Pitcher of the Year awards in Japan. He’ll make around $8MM with the Giants in 2021, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic relays. With another excellent season, though, Sugano could wind up in a major league uniform before the 2022 campaign.

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