Outfielder Mike Tauchman has signed with the Hanwha Eagles of the Korea Baseball Organization, reports Jeeho Yoo of Yonhap News. Tauchman will receive a signing bonus of $300K and a salary of $700K for a total guarantee of $1MM. As noted by Yoo, that is the maximum for first-year foreign players.
Tauchman was selected by the Rockies in the 10th round of the 2013 draft. Though he often hit well in the minors, he struggled in his first couple of tastes of MLB action with Colorado. Over 2017 and 2018, Tauchman got 69 plate appearances in 52 games, hitting .153/.265/.203. Prior to the 2019 campaign, the Yankees acquired him in a trade which, one year later, seemed like an absolute heist. Tauchman erupted that year and hit .277/.361/.504, producing a wRC+ of 128 and 2.6 fWAR.
Unfortunately, he couldn’t carry that forward into 2020, as his line dipped to .242/.342/.305 over 43 games in the pandemic-shortened season. Early in 2021, the Yankees sent Tauchman to the Giants, but the change of scenery didn’t help much. In 64 games for San Fran, he hit .178/.286/.283 and was designated for assignment at the end of July.
By agreeing to head overseas, the 31-year-old has avoided the uncertainty of the ongoing lockout while also securing a larger salary than he was likely to receive in North America. If he can get back into a groove and have a season similar to 2019, there’s a possibility of him being offered a contract to return to MLB, following a similar path to players like Eric Thames and Darin Ruf.