The Kia Tigers of the Korea Baseball Organization are in talks with free agent right-hander Shaun Anderson, according to Ji-heon Bae of Sports Chunchu (hat tip to MyKBO.net’s Dan Kurtz). If finalized, the deal is expected to be worth $1MM, which is the maximum annual salary for any non-Korean player in the KBO League.
The 28-year-old Anderson has pitched in the last four Major League seasons, though his participation in the 2022 campaign was limited to a single inning of work with the Blue Jays. The remainder of Anderson’s year was spent at Triple-A Buffalo, where he posted a 3.58 ERA, 20.6% strikeout rate, and 8.7% walk rate over 88 innings. Anderson started 15 of 36 appearances, though some of those “starts” were as an opener.
Originally a third-round pick for the Red Sox in the 2016 draft, Anderson has bounced around quite a bit during his pro career, and he has already pitched for five different teams over his four MLB seasons. After spending the 2019-20 seasons with the Giants, Anderson took the mound for the Twins, Orioles, and Padres in 2021, before his one-game cup of coffee with Toronto last year. The right-hander was also briefly part of the Rangers organization for some of the 2021 campaign.
Anderson hasn’t had much success at the MLB level, posting a 5.84 ERA over 135 2/3 career innings. He has a more solid track record in the minors (3.72 ERA in 416 2/3 frames) but he has never been a big strikeout pitcher, and Anderson’s grounder rates have also tailed off after topping the 50% threshold earlier in his career.
Multi-inning relief work might have been Anderson’s best way of finding a niche to stay on a big league roster, but he’ll now head to South Korea to try and revive his fortunes as a starting pitcher. Former Major Leaguers Thomas Pannone and Sean Nolin pitched with the Kia Tigers in 2022, but Bae writes that the Tigers might not retain either hurler as they look to overhaul their rotation.
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