Seasoned right-handed Tyler Chatwood becomes the newest big league player to sign with an Asian league during the owner-imposed Major League Baseball ban. According to Sports Hochi, a Japanese publication, Chatwood is expected to sign with the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks of the Nippon Professional Baseball League. Chatwood’s contract will be announced in the coming days, according to the report.
Chatwood, who turned 32 in December, played 32 games in the majors last season, dividing time between the Toronto Blue Jays and the San Francisco Giants. He did not do as well in these competitions, garnering a 5.63 ERA (79 ERA +) and a 1.81 strikeout-to-walk ratios. That effort raised his career grades to 4.45 ERA (101 ERA +) and a 1.43 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 229 appearances.
While Chatwood has always owned good things, he seldom had the controls and controls that were required to get the most of it. In fact, he’s spent more than one walk per two innings in the majors, including nearly six walks per nine last year.
Last week, CBS Sports reported on why so many notable free agents left the United States in favor of Japan or South Korea during the lockdown. Here is an excerpt from the article:
“The uncertainty about what the market will look like after the lockdown is the clearest reason some of these fringe players are going overseas,” an agency source said. “The best free agents will still have teams to chase them, but the fringe types have no leverage and the teams will move through that group of players quickly so more people are looking for security.”
Given Chatwood’s game in 2021 (he finished below the replacement threshold according to Baseball Reference’s calculations), it makes sense for him to go overseas and try to reinvent himself in a new setting. Josh Lindblom and Nick Martínez’s comeback stories over the past few years have proven that MLB teams are more than willing to take risks with pitchers who have held their own in the NPB despite its checkered track records in the States.
Chatwood is the third ex-big league player to join the Hawks in the past few weeks. Previously, they signed right-hander Colin Rea and infielder Freddy Galvis (who was awarded a multi-year contract).