Right-hander Donn Roach has been granted his release by the White Sox in order to pursue an opportunity in Japan, the team’s Triple-A affiliate in Charlotte announced. The move comes after Roach was named the club’s minor league pitcher of the month for June and after he’d been selected to the International League All-Star team.
There’s no official word as to which club will be signing Roach, though multiple reports out of Japan have suggested that the Orix Buffaloes have been showing interest in the 28-year-old right-hander. Roach becomes the second player to be released from a Triple-A club in order to pursue a job in Japan, joining now-former Mariners lefty Ariel Miranda.
Roach hasn’t pitched in the Majors since 2016 with Seattle and has just a 5.77 ERA with 20 strikeouts and 18 walks in 39 innings as a big leaguer. But he’s notched a much better 3.68 ERA in 453 innings at the Triple-A level, albeit with a pedestrian 4.8 K/9 mark against 2.2 BB/9. Roach also spent the 2017 season pitching for the KT Wiz of the Korea Baseball Organization, posting a 4.69 ERA through 165 innings of work.
That led Roach to the White Sox organization, where he’s turned in a terrific season to date. Through 95 innings, he’s logged a 2.65 ERA with 5.8 K/9, 2.0 BB/9, 0.28 HR/9 and a 56 percent ground-ball rate, with all but one of his 16 appearances coming out of the rotation. While the ChiSox aren’t exactly enjoying quality results from their rotation in the Majors, it also seems unlikely that Roach would’ve been a long-term answer for them at the big league level — especially given his lack of missed bats. This arrangement will allow Roach to earn more than he’d been earning in the States (and possibly set him up for a raise in a second season in Japan) while providing the Sox with some financial compensation for granting Roach his release.