Right-hander Glenn Sparkman has agreed to sign with the Lotte Giants of the Korea Baseball Organization, according to Naver Sports (hat tip to reporter Sung Min Kim). The deal will be official once Sparkman passes a physical.
This is the second straight year that Sparkman has signed with an international team. He inked a deal with the Orix Buffaloes of Nippon Professional Baseball last June, but posted only a 6.88 ERA over 17 innings. Before heading to Japan, Sparkman had signed a minor league deal with the Twins, but didn’t see any time on the active roster before being released last May.
A veteran of four Major League seasons, Sparkman posted a 5.99 ERA with the Blue Jays and Royals from 2017-2020, tossing all but one of his 180 1/3 career MLB frames in a Kansas City uniform. Despite an underwhelming ERA and strikeout totals as a big leaguer, Sparkman has been much more solid in the minors, with a 2.88 ERA and a 22.85 K% over 378 2/3 frames, though most of his bigger strikeout rates came prior to his 2015 Tommy John surgery.
With numbers suggesting a “Quad-A” type of career arc to date, Sparkman has a chance to re-invent himself in the KBO, and at least bank some guaranteed salary at a time when many free agents in a similar position are waiting out the lockout. Sparkman doesn’t turn 30 until May, so a solid performance with the Giants could open some new doors for a return to MLB next winter, or perhaps more lucrative opportunities pitching in South Korea or Japan.