Matt Shoemaker is reportedly close to the deal with NPB’s Yomiuri Giants

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According to a Japanese-language report by Sports Hochi, Matt Schuhmacher is close to agreeing on a deal with the Yomiuri Giants of Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball (h/t to Sung Min Kim). If completed, it would be the first career stint outside of North America for the ISE baseball client.

Shoemaker has played in each of the majors for the past nine seasons. He broke in with a one-start cameo for the Angels in 2013 but was a regular on their starting team for the next several years. Shoemaker pitched more than 135 innings each year between 2014 and 2016 and posted quality mid-rotation numbers throughout the run. Unfortunately, the right dealt with recurring health issues over the next few seasons. He underwent surgery in both 2017 and 2018 to fix nerve problems in his forearm before tearing his ACL at the end of the season when he started the 2019 campaign.

After returning to make six starts with the Blue Jays during the shortened 2020 schedule, the Michigan native signed a one-year deal with the Twins this past offseason. The Minnesota stint did not go well as Shoemaker’s strikeout rate fell to a career-worst 14.1% while he struggled mightily to keep the ball in court. He was dropped from the Twins’ 40-man roster in early July and released from Triple-A St. Paul a month later.

At the end of last season, Shoemaker tied himself to a underage deal with the San Francisco Giants. He fared better over nine appearances (eight starts) with their top Sacramento affiliate. His 4.83 ERA there isn’t conspicuous, but Shoemaker has allayed his home run concerns and posted plus strikeout and walk numbers (26% and 4.3%, respectively). Despite this, he failed to get a big league call up with San Francisco and was elected to the minor league free agency after the season.

Assuming a deal goes through, Shoemaker will travel 662 2/3 Major League innings to Japan, holder of a 4.24 ERA/4.03 SIERA. He is likely to take on a key rotation role at the Tokyo-based club, which have also landed major leagues of late Gregory Polanco and Matthew Andriese this winter. Shoemaker turned 35 in September, but given his long track record, it wouldn’t be surprising to see him reappear on the MLB radar next offseason if he performs well in Japan.

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