Right-hander Dylan File has inked a contract with the Doosan Bears of the Korea Baseball Organization, the team announced (h/t to Dan Kurtz of MyKBO.net). He’ll receive a $550K salary, and the deal contains up to $100K in incentives.
File was a 21st-round draftee of the Brewers back in 2017. He made it to Milwaukee’s 40-man roster over the 2020-21 offseason, as the club was concerned about losing him in the Rule 5 draft. File hadn’t pitched that year on account of the cancelation of the minor league season, but he’d performed well between High-A and Double-A in 2019. He appeared among the top 30 prospects in the Milwaukee system at Baseball America that winter, remaining on the list in each of the subsequent two seasons.
Bumped up to Triple-A Nashville in 2021, the Dixie State product spent the entire year on optional assignment. He posted a 5.27 ERA in nine starts with the Sounds in 2021 but held his 40-man spot all winter. The Brewers eventually took him off the roster this past May, although he remained in the organization after clearing outright waivers. File started 19 of his 26 outings in Nashville, pitching to a 4.57 ERA with a modest 19.9% strikeout rate but an excellent 7.1% walk percentage across 114 1/3 innings. He’s still yet to make his big league debut.
The Brewers could have kept File in the organization as non-roster rotation depth, but they officially granted him his release yesterday. The 26-year-old could ostensibly look to return to the majors at some point down the line, but he’ll make the jump to the KBO for at least the 2023 season. Players like Chris Flexen and Merrill Kelly were all on the fringes of a 40-man roster before signing and having success in South Korea and eventually returning stateside on guaranteed big league deals. Drew Rucinski seems likely to follow that path this offseason.
There’s no guarantee File will have the same amount of success, of course. He’s an excellent strike-thrower, however, and he’ll presumably get a guaranteed rotation spot with the Seoul-based team. File secures the largest payday of his career and will get an opportunity to perform at Korea’s highest level.
Naver Sports first reported File and the Bears were negotiating a deal earlier this month.