The NC Dinos of the Korea Baseball Organization have signed former Marlins lefty Daniel Castano to a one-year contract, the team announced (English-language link via Jee-ho Yoo of South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency). He’ll earn $650K in guaranteed money between his salary and signing bonus, and he can take home another $200K via incentives.
Castano, 29, came to the Marlins alongside future stars Sandy Alcantara and Zac Gallen (later flipped to Arizona for Jazz Chisholm Jr.) in the trade that sent Marcell Ozuna to St. Louis. He’s appeared in each of the past four seasons with Miami, logging a total of 88 2/3 innings. Along the way, the former 19th-round pick has posted a 4.47 earned run average with a 12.4% strikeout rate that’s roughly half the league average and a solid 7.9% walk rate.
Castano has appeared in parts of three Triple-A seasons with the Marlins and produced generally similar run-prevention numbers, albeit with a much better strikeout rate. In 174 innings with Miami’s top affiliate in Jacksonville, he’s logged a 4.24 ERA, 20.6% strikeout rate and 7.3% walk rate. He’s expected to work as a starter with the Dinos, per general manager Sun-nam Lim.
The Marlins outrighted Castano off the 40-man roster in September, and he became a free agent following the season. He’d likely have been in line for a minor league deal were he to sign with an MLB organization, at which point he’d have earned at a prorated deal not far north of the MLB minimum for any time spent in the big leagues. The $650K guarantee alone should top what he might’ve made under that scenario, and the incentives give him further earning potential.
If things go well for Castano in the KBO, he could position himself to re-sign for a guarantee closer to seven figures next year, and with enough success he could draw interest from Japan’s NPB or even on a return to the big leagues. He only just turned 29 in September, so he’s still young enough to make his way back to North American ball in a few years, depending how he fares overseas.