NPB/KBO Notes: Dice-K, Mengden, Almonte, Yoon

Daisuke Matsuzaka is still going. The 40-year-old righty signed a one-year deal with the Seibu Lions in Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball earlier this week, according to the Japan Times, rejoining the club for which he starred from 1999-2006. Matsuzaka was with the Lions in 2020 as well, although he spent the year rehabbing from back surgery that prevented him from pitching. The former Red Sox right-hander returned to NPB in 2015 and has since pitched with the SoftBank Hawks and Chunichi Dragons. He’s thrown just 5 1/3 innings since the conclusion of the 2018 season due to injuries, but he’ll hope for a healthier go of it as his career comes full circle with the Lions in 2021.

Some more notes on former big leaguers, the KBO and NPB…

  • Former Athletics right-hander Daniel Mengden has held negotiations with a club in the Korea Baseball Organization, per a report from South Korea’s Naver Sports (Korean language link). There’s no indication a deal has been completed yet. Mengden spent his first five professional seasons in Oakland, where he pitched to a 4.64 ERA/4.58 FIP and posted 6.66 K/9 against 3.03 BB/9 over 302 2/3 innings. He only threw 12 1/3 frames last year after undergoing three offseason surgeries (two to repair an intestinal issue, another on his elbow). The A’s outrighted the 27-year-old in September.
  • The KBO’s KT Wiz have signed outfielder Zoilo Almonte to a one-year, $525K guarantee with up to $250K in incentives, Jee-ho Yoo of South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency relays. The ex-Yankees farmhand, 31, spent the previous three seasons with Chunichi, with which he slashed .316/.375/.484 and hit 31 home runs in 967 plate appearances. As Yoo notes, Almonte will replace 2020 KBO MVP Mel Rojas Jr., who left KT for the NPB’s Hanshin Tigers earlier this month.
  • Retired righty Suk-min Yoon is attempting to become a professional golfer in Korea, Yoo reports. Yoon was a highly successful starter with the KBO’s Kia Tigers, which led the Orioles to sign him to a contract worth a guaranteed $5.75MM over three years entering the 2014 campaign. He never threw a pitch for the Orioles, though, instead spending the year at Triple-A, and the O’s released him in 2015. Yoon returned to the Tigers and pitched in 2015, ’16 and ’18, but he hung up his cleats after a shoulder injury derailed his career.

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Published at Thu, 24 Dec 2020 22:06:56 +0000

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