The Samsung Lions of the Korea Baseball Organization have agreed to a deal with right-hander Taylor Widener, reports Jeeho Yoo of Yonhap News (Twitter link). Righty Albert Suarez is being released in a corresponding move.
Widener has spent the ’23 campaign in South Korea. The former Diamondback signed an offseason deal with the NC Dinos. He started 11 games, working to a 4.52 ERA over 61 2/3 frames. Widener had a decent 22% strikeout rate against a slightly elevated 8.9% walk percentage.
While his production was serviceable, it wasn’t enough for the Dinos to commit one of their two allotted roster spots to foreign-born pitchers. They released him last week and signed left-hander Tanner Tully out of the Yankees’ organization. According to Yoo, Widener’s contract will be made official on Friday, as KBO rules require a player to wait a week upon being waived before signing with another team.
It’s not common to see foreign players immediately catch on with a different KBO team after being released. Widener is healthy, though, so the Lions will swap him in for Suarez. The Venezuelan-born hurler (and older brother of Padres reliever Robert Suarez) recently suffered a calf injury and is expected to be out around a month, tweets Dan Kurtz of MyKBO.
Suarez, a 33-year-old righty who pitched in the majors with the Giants from 2016-17, spent a year and a half with the Lions. He had an excellent 2.49 ERA showing through 173 2/3 innings a season ago and carried a 3.92 ERA over 19 starts this year. Unfortunately, the injury cut that productive run short.