The NC Dinos of the Korea Baseball Organization have signed right-hander Taylor Widener, reports Jiheon Pae, relayed by Sung Min Kim.
Widener, 28, was a Yankees draft pick who got dealt to the Diamondbacks in the three-team trade that sent Brandon Drury to the Bronx. Widener’s first year with his new organization went quite well, as he posted a 2.75 ERA in 137 1/3 Double-A innings in 2018. However, the move to Triple-A in 2019 was far less rosy, as he was lit up for an 8.10 ERA in 100 innings.
He was still able to make his MLB debut the following year and appeared in each of the past three seasons. Through 107 2/3 MLB frames thus far, he has a 4.26 ERA, with a 22.3% strikeout rate, 11% walk rate and 34.1% ground ball rate. Last year, he spent most of his time in Triple-A, tossing 36 2/3 innings for the Reno Aces. He struck out 29.6% of batters faced there and walked just 7.5%, but his ERA was 5.40. That was probably elevated by a .368 batting average on balls in play in the notoriously hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League, with advanced metrics feeling he deserved better, such as a 4.05 FIP and 4.59 xFIP.
The D-Backs designated him for assignment in December when they acquired infielder Diego Castillo from the Pirates. The other 29 clubs passed on the opportunity to grab Widener off waivers and he was outrighted in January. Now he’ll head overseas to see if the change of scenery can help him unlock some better results. He’ll also get a better salary than he would if he were languishing in the minors in North America. The Google translation of the Korean tweet linked above says that Widener will make $743K this year, which is actually more than the MLB minimum of $720K. Many pitchers have parlayed success overseas into a return to the majors, such as Miles Mikolas, Drew Rucinski and Widener’s former teammate Merrill Kelly. If Widener can have a good run in the KBO, he could follow a similar path in the years to come.
South Aiken High’s own!
Wait he wasn’t still with arizona?
Widen(er)ing his horizons, eh? Eh?….
Thank you, thank you, I’m here till Tuesday, please try the Fish 😛
Hope it works out for him.
We’ll see him back, stateside, in 2025. Best of luck.
A jurassic signing