Former Padres/Dodgers/Mariners right-hander Joe Wieland has agreed to a one-year, $1MM contract with the Korea Baseball Organization’s Kia Tigers, the team announced (hat tip: MyKBO.net’s Dan Kurtz, on Twitter). Meanwhile, another former big league righty, Justin Hancock, has agreed to a one-year contract with Japan’s Nippon Ham Fighters, tweets Robert Murray of The Athletic. Hancock’s deal contains an option for a second season.
Wieland, perhaps best known for being one of three players traded from the Padres to the Dodgers in the infamous Matt Kemp trade back in 2014 (along with Zach Eflin and Yasmani Grandal), is signing on for his third year pitching professionally in Asia. The 28-year-old spent the 2017-18 campaigns pitching for the Yokohama Bay Stars in Japan, where he worked to a combined 3.80 ERA with just under eight strikeouts and three walks per nine innings pitched. Wieland will now head to Korea for another solid payday (at least relative to what he’d receive on a minor league contract with the bulk of his season spent at the Triple-A ranks).
As for Hancock, the 28-year-old made his MLB debut with the Cubs in 2018 and notched a 1.46 ERA in 12 1/3 innings, although his 11-to-9 K/BB ratio in that brief time was far less palatable. The righty has upped his strikeout rate in the minors in each of the past two seasons following a full-time move to the bullpen. Hancock was one of three players non-tendered by the Cubs prior to last week’s deadline.