Former pirate outfielder Gregory Polanco has signed with the Yomiuri Giants of Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball, the team announced. It’s his first season with the Tokyo club.
The first news of talks between Polanco and teams in the NPB was already in mid-December. Polanco was unlikely to get a major league deal. Polanco has seen a once promising career derailed from injuries that led to his release from Pittsburgh. Only 30-year-old Polanco will try to rebuild a certain value with his time in Japan.
Polanco has a career .241 / .309 / .409 triple-slash line over 3,220 record appearances, although he has not made a positive contribution to rWAR since 2018. This year’s .254 / .340 / .499 Slash (123 wRC +) feels like a distant memory as Polanco has since limped to a combined .203 / .270 / .364 batting line in 723 record appearances since then. Its once minimal strikeout rate – it hit just 14.6% in 2017 – has risen to 30.2% in the past three seasons.
His MLB career spanned eight seasons from 2014 to 2021, all with the Pirates. He signed a minor league deal with the Blue Jays after his release in 2021, but did not appear in the major for Toronto. That means, he raked over 101 record appearances in Triple-A and cut .374 / .436 / .747 in this small sample. The Giants were undoubtedly encouraged by this notion.