Former Giants Twirlers Find New Homes

Tom DubberkeCorrespondent IDecember 28, 2009

Bob Howry just signed with the Diamonds on a one-year deal for an amount reported as $2-to-3 million.  That sounded like too much to me, at least based on how I remembered Howry’s 2009 season a Giant.

However, on reviewing his numbers again, I can see why the D-Backs gave him that much.  Howry went 2-6 last year, but finished the season with a 3.39 ERA  after a September in which his ERA was only 1.69.  He allowed 50 hits and 23 walks and knotched 46 K’s in 63.2 IP over the 2009 season as a whole.

Howry will be 36 in 2010, so it remains to be seen if he’s got any good years left.  Either way, his strong September showing after a generally lack-luster season probably earned him an extra million dollars for 2010.

Also, Ryan Sadowski, after signing a minor league deal with the Astros earlier in the off-season, has now apparently signed a contract with the Lotte Giants of the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO).

Giants fans will remember The Big Sadowski for winning his first two major league starts, throwing thirteen shutout innings in the process.  Sadowski then lost his next four starts, allowing 14 earned runs in 15.1 innings pitched.  He was promptly sent back down to AAA Fresno, never to return.

Sadowski’s contract to play in Korea in 2010 is for $200,000 with a $100,000 signing bonus.  The fact that the one-year deal contains a “signing bonus” makes me think that the $200,000 base contract is not guaranteed, meaning the Lotte Giants don’t have to keep paying him if he doesn’t make good and gets released.

It’s interesting (to me at least) to think whether or not this is a good move by Sadowski.  He’ll be 27 in 2010, so going to Korea now probably means the end of his chances to have an MLB career.

Also, playing in the Astros’ system, Sadowski, as a player with MLB service time, would have to be paid at a rate of at least $65,000 per year for his minor service time and a pro-rated portion of the 2010 major league minimum of $400,000 for any time spent on a major league roster.

Here are Sadowski’s career minor league numbers: 4.28 ERA, 412.1 IP, 393 hits and 177 walks allowed and 356 strikouts recorded.  These numbers don’t suggest that Sadowski has a good shot at having a significant major league career.  However, a couple of breaks in 2010, and Sadowski could have ended up spending at good portion of 2010 on the Astros’ roster.

I have to think that Sadowski is good enough to be successful in the KBO, so long as he can adjust to living in Korea.  However, a lot of American players can’t.

Perhaps Sadowski figures that he can have a longer career and make a little more money playing in Korea than he could in the U.S. at this point in his career.  Perhaps, he also believes that if he plays well in Korea, he’s more likely to grab a Japanese team’s attention than if he remains a slightly better than average AAA starter.

This latter possibility makes more sense.  For a player of his age and talent level, Sadowski’s best shot at making any real money playing baseball is to pitch for a Japanese major league team for three or more full seasons.  Right now, he’s pitched so little in the majors that he’s probably not high on any Japanese team’s list of 4A players.  Maybe a big year or two in Korea will change that.

I wish Ryan Sadowski the best, although I kind of suspect we’ll never hear from him again.