Japan’s Orix Buffaloes have announced that they have purchased the contract of righty Tyler Eppler from the Pirates. The 26-year-old appears to have an agreement for an estimated $600K in 2019 salary, per a Kyodo News report.
Though Eppler would have had a shot at making his MLB debut in the near future, he was left unprotected — and went unselected — in the recent Rule 5 draft. Given those circumstances, it’s easy to see why he chose to accept a move to Nippon Professional Baseball, where he’ll have a chance to earn significant money, pitch at the highest level of baseball outside of North America, and perhaps generate momentum for an eventual stateside return.
Eppler is coming off of a strong showing at Triple-A, where he worked to a 3.59 ERA in 153 innings with 6.9 K/9 and 2.3 BB/9. The former sixth-round pick also went on to throw well this winter in the Dominican Winter League. Still, he was left without a 40-man spot for 2019 after consecutive seasons at the highest level of the minors.