The Giants have released right-hander Shun Yamaguchi, tweets Andrew Baggarly of The Athletic. The former Blue Jays right-hander, who inked a minor league contract with San Francisco after he was released by Toronto, announced on Instagram that he is headed back to his native Japan.
Yamaguchi, 33, starred for the Yokohama DeNA Bay Stars and the Yomiuri Giants in a 14-year career in Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball before pursuing MLB opportunities in the 2019-20 offseason. He parlayed a career 3.35 ERA in Japan — including a 2.91 ERA and 26.7 percent strikeout rate in his final NPB season — into a multi-year deal with Toronto. The Blue Jays inked Yamaguchi to a two-year, $6.35MM deal on the heels of that terrific NPB career. It was a low-risk investment, but one that simply didn’t pan out.
Through 25 2/3 innings with the Jays last year, Yamaguchi pitched to an 8.06 ERA with a lackluster 26-to-17 K/BB ratio and six home runs allowed. The Blue Jays designated Yamaguchi for assignment and released him before Spring Training games began. He latched on with San Francisco and had a strong spring showing (one run n six innings), but his work in Triple-A thus far has been sub-par. He’s been tagged for 18 runs (16 earned) on 19 hits and 14 walks with 25 strikeouts through 23 1/3 innings.
Given Yamaguchi’s track record in Nippon Professional Baseball, it’s quite possible that he’ll latch on with another club in Japan. There’s certainly nothing that rules out another attempt in MLB somewhere down the road, but for the time being it seems that’s not Yamaguchi’s focus.