The NC Dinos of the Korea Baseball Organization have signed former Nationals right-hander Erick Fedde to a one-year contract, per Jeeho Yoo of South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency (Twitter link). The Boras Corporation client will earn $1MM on the deal, in the form of an $800K salary and $200K signing bonus. That $1MM guarantee is the maximum amount that KBO clubs are able to commit to foreign players in their first year in the league.
Fedde, 30 in February, was the No. 18 overall pick by the Nationals back in 2014 and was long considered one of the sport’s top pitching prospects before making his Major League debut. A standout at UNLV, Fedde might have been selected even higher in the draft had he not required Tommy John surgery during his junior season. The Nats took him in the first round despite the health concerns, and Fedde breezed through the minors once healthy, regularly posting ERAs in the low- to mid-3.00s before making his MLB debut in 2017.
Unfortunately, Fedde’s mostly healthy run through the minor leagues hasn’t carried over into the big leagues. He’s required 60-day IL stints for both flexor and shoulder troubles during a six-year big league career, in addition to shorter-term IL stints for shoulder inflammation and oblique injuries. He’s also struggled to miss bats in the big leagues, issued walks at an above-average clip and struggled to keep the ball in the yard.
In 454 1/3 innings at the MLB level, Fedde has a career 5.41 ERA with a 17.5% strikeout rate, 9.5% walk rate, 1.55 HR/9 and a 48.9% ground-ball rate. His sinker averaged 93.7 mph in 2017-18 and sat at 93.9 mph as recently as 2021, but this past season’s 92.5 mph average was a career-low mark.
Recent struggles notwithstanding, Fedde was once a high-profile pitching prospect who skated through the minor leagues and reached the Majors as a 24-year-old. He’s still yet to turn 30, so a strong run in the KBO could pave the way for Fedde to return to the Majors — perhaps even on a multi-year contract. Merrill Kelly, Chris Flexen and Josh Lindblom are just a few recent examples of pitchers reinventing themselves in the KBO and subsequently cashing in on a multi-year deal upon returning to pro ball in North America. Cardinals righty Miles Mikolas is the prominent overseas success story, though he found his success in a three-year stint in Japan rather than South Korea. Fedde will look to chart a similar path, and given his relative youth and former prospect status, he’ll be a particularly interesting case to follow with the Dinos in the upcoming season.
I feel like he has potential and can be one of those pitchers who do well over there and comeback in a few years. Mikolas, merril kelly guys like that. are really good pitchers.
Great Job Boras for maxing out a contract on a 1st year foreign player in the Korean market,
Peart of the game
He also got Sung Bum Na a 6 year deal in the KBO worth $12.6 million with the Kia Tigers
Peart of the game
Looks luke they’re replacing Matthew Dermody with Fedde, it should be a considerable upgrade as I would’ve expected an NPB team to go after Fedde instead.
Didn’t Dermody once go to law school, then quit to pursue poker?
Dinos PA guy has quit.
Next Eric Thames
Braves will miss him
A once untouchable trade prospect…
Strange that an MLB teams was not willing to offer Fedde a $1M guarantee plus incentives. He had a bad year in 2022, but he wouldn’t be much of a risk and could quite possibly have been an effective fifth starter for a bargain price.
I always wonder about the extent to which some Boras clients get the fuzzy end of the lollipop because he drives such a hard bargain that will benefit future clients down the line, but not the client for whom Boras is actually negotiating a contract at the moment.
That is horrible horrible pitch data to go along with the poor results. Fedde just pitched to a near 6 ERA and his velo was down. He was a non roster invitee in the US. Maybe he could’ve made a million bucks if he stuck in the bigs all year but that’s highly unlikely given what we saw.
The Nats pitching last year was basically a AAA rotation and if they do not want you back—1MM in Korea isn’t too bad.
The Nats suck at developing pitchers so I’m fairly confident that he will get a better education over there. Maybe he’ll really learn to develop the off speed stuff.