Dan Straily Aiming To Return To MLB In 2022

Right-hander Dan Straily turned down a contract offer from the KBO League’s Lotte Giants for a third season in South Korea, as SportsGrid’s Craig Mish (via Twitter) reports that Straily is looking to return to the majors next season.  Straily is a veteran of eight big league seasons, last appearing in North American baseball as a member of the Orioles in 2019.

Among the many topics discussed in his chat with MLBTR readers on December 14, Straily noted that he was “always looking to play in MLB.  Anyone who puts on a uniform has the dream of pitching in MLB,” adding that “I have said since day one that I want to finish my career in the MLB where my son can watch me pitch.”  Given the lockout, Straily said that “time will tell” about whether or not he might ultimately land back in the bigs in 2022.  This marks the second straight offseason of uncertainty surrounding Straily’s plans, as he said he re-signed with the Giants last winter since “we didn’t know what the [Major League] season was going to look like with Covid, and Lotte came in with a really strong offer.”

This year, however, Straily will test free agency on the heels of two solid seasons in the KBO League.  The righty posted a 3.22 ERA and 24.75% strikeout rate over 360 1/3 innings with the Busan-based Giants, and perhaps the most intriguing statistic is the fact that Straily allowed a modest 22 homers in the hitter-friendly KBO.  That represents a strong improvement for a flyball pitcher like Straily, especially since issues with the home run ball led to his disastrous season in Baltimore.

Straily also allowed 22 home runs during his time with the Orioles, except that total came over only 47 2/3 innings, resulting in an ugly 9.82 ERA in 2019.  A move to the bullpen didn’t help Straily get on track, and while the Phillies acquired Straily at that year’s trade deadline, he didn’t see any big league action in Philadelphia.  Injuries contributed to that down year, as Straily mentioned in the reader chat that he only discovered after the season that he had been pitching with a torn meniscus.

The struggles in 2019 stood out given how solidly the righty performed with the Reds and Marlins from 2016-18 (4.03 ERA, if a 4.64 SIERA).  Since Straily isn’t a big strikeout pitcher and generally allows so many flyballs, it was perhaps inevitable that his eight MLB seasons featured plenty of variance in performance.  At his best, Straily has shown himself to be a durable starter who can provide quality innings if he can just keep the ball in the park.

Since pitching is always a need, MLB clubs have undoubtedly kept an eye on Straily’s work in South Korea, and could be interested in seeing if his KBO success could be replicated in North America.  Straily said in his chat that “we changed something on almost all of my pitches to make them better,” using such familiar pitching analysis “toys” as “Rapsodo, Driveline, and Edgertronic cameras” to both improve his changeup and add velocity to his fastball.  Last offseason, Straily drew attention from such Major League teams as the Angels, the Reds (one of Straily’s former teams) and the San Francisco Giants, so it stands to reason that any of those clubs could still be interested in the 33-year-old’s services.

Published at Fri, 24 Dec 2021 17:37:14 +0000

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