Tigers sign pitcher to minor-league deal in hopes revival stint in Japan was real

Texas Rangers v Baltimore Orioles
Texas Rangers v Baltimore Orioles / Mitchell Layton/GettyImages

Although going from MLB across the ocean to Asian baseball leagues is usually seen as a downgrade for players, that might be a bit of an ungenerous assessment. Plenty of players go over to Japan's NPB or Korea's KBO and have storied careers in their own rights, and some return to MLB better than ever because of the experience they gained overseas. The Yankees are giving a chance to an infielder who spent time Korea, and now it seems that the Detroit Tigers are doing the same with a pitcher coming back from Japan.

The Tigers have signed righty Drew Anderson to a minor league deal after he spent two promising years with the Hiroshima Carp, which was once home to Seiya Suzuki and now-Tiger Kenta Maeda.

Detroit Tigers sign Drew Anderson to minor-league deal after two-year stint in Japan

Before going to Japan, Anderson saw 44 1/3 major league innings with the Phillies, White Sox, and Rangers from 2017-2021. He was most promising with the Rangers, pitching 22 MLB innings out of the bullpen for a 3.27 ERA. He was bounced between organizations and their minor league affiliates throughout that time, with his last effort with the Triple-A Round Rock Express in 2021 yielding some promising results.

However, Anderson picked up and moved over to Japan at the end of that season, where he pitched 115 innings for the Carp's bullpen for a very serviceable 3.05 ERA. His most recent season was stronger than his first in Japan, with a 2.40 ERA. Over both years, he struck out 20.7% and walked only 8.4% of batters faced.

The Tigers haven't announced if Anderson will get an invitation to spring training, but given how limited their bullpen looks at the moment, it would make sense if he gets an invite and the team watches him closely to see if that brief sojourn overseas could pay off for both parties in 2024.