Dec. 22: Lockett and the Bears are in agreement on a one-year contract, MLBTR’s Tim Dierkes reports. The agreement is still pending completion of a physical.
Dec. 20: Right-hander Walker Lockett is close to signing a deal with the Doosan Bears of the Korea Baseball Organization, according to multiple Korean media outlets (hat tip to Daniel Kim of ESPN and DKTV). The Blue Jays hold Lockett’s MLB rights, as Kim notes, so there will likely be some money changing hands between the Bears and Jays to complete the transaction. Lockett is represented by O’Connell Sports Management.
The move to Seoul will send Lockett to his fourth different organization in as many months, as the Mariners claimed the righty away from the Mets in September, and Toronto claimed him from Seattle two weeks ago. Lockett is coming off a season that saw him post a 4.96 ERA, 2.75 K/BB, and 6.1 K/9 over 16 1/3 combined innings with the Mets and Mariners.
Modest as those numbers are, they represented a big improvement over the 8.84 ERA Lockett delivered in his first 37 2/3 innings in the Show (with the Padres and Mets in 2018-19). After allowing home runs at a 2.4 HR/9 pace in those first two seasons, Lockett had a somewhat more palatable 1.1 HR/9 in 2020, and he also allowed much less hard contact than in 2018-19. Lockett made the cutter into a much more prominent part of his arsenal in 2020, throwing the pitch over 20 percent of the time.
Lockett started eight of his 20 career MLB games and was a regular starter in the minors (97 of 114 games), so it seems probable that the Bears will give him another look out of their rotation. A fourth-round pick for the Padres back in the 2012 draft, Lockett is still only 26, and has posted decent numbers over nine minor league seasons, relying on lots of grounders rather than big strikeout totals.