A few notes on some the market for players heading overseas and (potentially) returning from Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball and the Korea Baseball Organization…
- The Samsung Lions of the Korea Baseball Organization announced that they’ve signed righty Deck McGuire, per Jee-ho Yoo of South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency. McGuire will earn a $600K salary in addition to a $100K signing bonus, and his contract can max out at a total of $950K if he reaches all of the built-in incentives. McGuire, 29, pitched 38 2/3 innings this past season between the Angels and Blue Jays but struggled to a 6.16 ERA in that brief stint. A former first-round draft pick, McGuire has a 5.23 ERA in 51 2/3 innings as a Major Leaguer, but he’s had more success in the upper minors in recent seasons. The right-hander posted a strong 2.79 ERA in 168 innings with Cincinnati’s Double-A affiliate in 2017 and a 3.22 ERA in 44 2/3 innings with Toronto’s top affiliate in Buffalo this past season.
- Yahoo’s Jeff Passan tweets that right-hander Merrill Kelly, who has spent the past three seasons pitching in Korea, could make his way back to the United States as a free agent this winter. Kelly, who turned 30 in October, has never pitched in the Majors but has thrived as a starter in the hitter-friendly KBO. Over the past two seasons with the SK Wyverns, Kelly has made 61 starts and tossed 390 1/3 innings of 3.64 ERA ball with 341 strikeouts (7.9 K/9) and 105 walks (2.4 BB/9). It’s not clear whether MLB clubs will view him as a starter or a reliever, but his strong results in Korea figure to lead to some degree of interest, regardless. Passan notes that Kelly will formally become eligible to sign on December 1.
- Former big league third baseman Matt Dominguez had his option declined by the Chiba Lotte Marines of Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball and will once again be a free agent this winter. The 29-year-old didn’t fare well in a small sample of games overseas this past season and hasn’t appeared in the big leagues since 2016. Dominguez was the Astros’ primary third baseman in 2013-14, clubbing 37 home runs in that time, but he’s had limited big league opportunities since. He’s a career .264/.309/.410 hitter through 570 Triple-A games and came with a strong defensive reputation earlier in his career.