FEBRUARY 15: Shoemaker’s deal with Yomiuri is now official, according to an announcement from his representatives (on Twitter).
FEBRUARY 5: According to a Japanese-language report from Sports Hochi, Matt Shoemaker is nearing agreement on a deal with the Yomiuri Giants of Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball (h/t to Sung Min Kim). If finalized, it’d be the first career stint outside of North America for the client of Beverly Hills Sports Council.
Shoemaker has pitched in the majors in each of the past nine seasons. He broke in with a one-start cameo for the Angels in 2013 but was a regular member of their starting staff over the next few years. Shoemaker worked 135+ innings every year between 2014-16, posting quality mid-rotation numbers throughout that run. Unfortunately, the righty dealt with recurring health issues over the next few seasons. He underwent surgeries to address nerve issues in his forearm during both 2017 and 2018 before suffering a season-ending ACL tear five starts into the 2019 campaign.
After returning to make six starts with the Blue Jays during the abbreviated 2020 schedule, the Michigan native signed a one-year deal with the Twins last offseason. The stint in Minnesota didn’t go well, as Shoemaker’s strikeout rate tumbled to a career-worst 14.1% while he struggled mightily to keep the ball in the yard. He was outrighted off the Twins’ 40-man roster in early July and released from Triple-A St. Paul a month later.
Late last season, Shoemaker hooked on with the San Francisco Giants on a minors deal. He fared better over nine appearances (eight starts) with their top affiliate in Sacramento. His 4.83 ERA there isn’t eye-catching, but Shoemaker both quieted his home run concerns and posted plus strikeout and walk numbers (26% and 4.3%, respectively). Nevertheless, he didn’t get a big league call with San Francisco and elected minor league free agency after the season.
Presuming a deal gets completed, Shoemaker will head to Japan owner of a 4.24 ERA/4.03 SIERA across 662 2/3 major league innings. He’ll likely take on a key rotation role with the Tokyo-based club, which has also landed recent big leaguers Gregory Polanco and Matt Andriese this winter. Shoemaker turned 35 years old in September, but given his lengthy track record, it wouldn’t be surprising to see him reappear on the MLB radar next offseason if he performs well in Japan.
cue the “he would be on a MLB team now if not for the lockout” gang (even though he was released mid-year by a team with a scetchy pitching situation).
Trolling for bad takes…….somebody needs a new hobby.
I’ve got plenty of hobbies but cool to see you care about if I do or don’t.
I don’t think you have bad takes, but I doubt anyone thinks the lockout is the reason he is going to Japan.
This definitely isn’t a trolling. I was going to post about his stock having fallen and this is probably the better option for him than signing a minor league contract.
Yeah, it’s the first year he’s appeared in double-digit games and pitched 50+ innings since 2017. He’s going into his age-35 season too, so it kinda makes sense for him to try his hand overseas. Best he would get in the US, lockout or not, was a minor league deal and an invite to ST.
More like…cue the people who will comment, “see, there isn’t gunna be a season. That’s why he signed overseas.”
He might have signed with the Mets but that’s not an MLB team.
Shoemaker, Polanco, and Andriese all in Tokyo to try and get some looks by the scouts. Polanco always had the skills, but couldn’t stay healthy all season and/or struggled with his potential yearly. He still has a chance to redeem himself over the later of the 2. Shoemaker is making one final attempt to make a comeback. Andriese is still trying find himself and establish his career. Both are wild cards next offseason. Polanco is a dark horse next season, health is going to be the factor rather he gets another big league gig. Good luck to all 3 though
At least he will be playing ball this season unlike everybody in the major leagues.
a tinker, a tailor.. a Shoemaker.. the Twins otta try some real pitching… They have Needed Ace level Pitching since they ditched Johan Santana..
best of luck in japan, shoe!
His splitter made him lethal his first few years, but the thing about that pitch is over-reliance upon it will absolutely destroy your forearm, wrist, and elbow. And now he heads to Japan, where they’re more familiar with that pitch, which is both good and bad. Bad in that it likely won’t have the same effect over there as it did here, but good in that he’ll be working with players, coaches and doctors that are more accustomed to it, and may be able to tinker with it or at least help manage it and elongate his career.
Great points on tte splitter
I myself am a fan of a good splitter. Three pitches are an art. The knuckle, fork, and the split. The only pitches IMO you cannot just force to work
I always find it funny when someone leaves the giants to play for the giants
as an Angels fan, my main Shoemaker memory was the brutal liner he took off his head, glad he recovered from that
Yeah, I was surprised the story didn’t mention his head trauma, since there was apparently a brief period in his hospitalization where he could have died.
He’s a very good man, and a tough player. I hope his time in NPB pays him well and allows him the chance to get in a full season on the mound.
If not for Japan, Shoe would likely have to retire. I hope the best for him. I like his story and he seems like a genuinely nice guy.
Peart of the game
The KBO is still a solid option but otherwise retirement would be the best move
Shoemaker is a really good guy, I wish him the best.
Considering that the Giants are the big boys in Japan, one would think they could get someone better.
Peart of the game
Miles Mikolas is a good example
Huh? The ‘big boys’ in Japan are the Softbank Hawks.