Dec. 18: Andriese’s deal with the Yomiuri Giants is worth $2.1MM plus incentives, reports MLB Network’s Jon Heyman (via Twitter). That’s notably the exact sum Andriese earned with the Red Sox last season.
Dec. 16: Right-handed pitcher Matt Andriese has reportedly agreed to a deal with the Yomiuri Giants of Nippon Professional Baseball, according to Yahoo Japan. The 32-year-old elected free agency at the end of September after being designated for assignment by the Mariners.
Andriese first cracked the big leagues with the Rays and spent parts of four seasons there, from 2015 to 2018. His most extensive MLB action was 2016, where he appeared in 29 games, 19 of them starts, logging 127 2/3 innings with an ERA of 4.37. Since that time, he’s gradually seen more time out of the bullpen, having only made one start in the past three seasons as he’s bounced to the Diamondbacks, Angels, Red Sox and Mariners.
Moving to the bullpen has seen him rack up more strikeouts, but without improvement in real results. After posting a 19.8% strikeout rate from 2015-2017, it’s been 24% in the subsequent four campaigns. Despite that, his ERA has jumped from 4.35 in those first three seasons to 4.98 since, although some advanced metrics are a bit more optimistic. (3.70 SIERA and 3.87 xFIP, for instance.)
For 2021, Andriese signed a one-year deal with the Red Sox with a $2.1MM guarantee and was given a chance to earn a role in the starting rotation. He eventually made 26 appearances out of Boston’s bullpen, logging 37 1/3 innings and putting up an ERA of 6.03, despite his decent strikeout and walk rates. He hit the IL with hamstring tendinitis on July 10th and was eventually released in August. He latched on with the Mariners a few weeks later and appeared in eight games for them, throwing 11 innings with an ERA of 2.45. Despite that good stretch, he lost his roster spot in the waning days of the season and wound up electing free agency. He finished the year with a solid final line of 48 1/3 total innings, strikeout rate of 22.5% and walk rate of 5.9%. Despite the 5.21 ERA, he was treated much kinder by the advanced metrics, as evidenced by his 3.66 SIERA and 4.02 xFIP.
Due to finishing the season without a 40-man roster spot, he would have been eligible to sign a minor league deal with an MLB club, even during the ongoing lockout. However, he will instead opt for the greater certainty of a secured roster spot in Japan. If he can have better luck translating those underlying metrics into real results, he could be an interesting candidate to return to North America a year from now.