The SSG Landers of the Korea Baseball Group introduced Tuesday that they’ve signed right-hander Robert Dugger to a one-year deal price $750K (hyperlink through Jee-ho Yoo of the Yonhap Information Company). He can earn one other $150K through incentives.
Dugger, 28, logged MLB time every season from 2019-22, compiling a complete of 86 2/3 innings between the Marlins, Mariners, Rays and Reds. He was hit laborious throughout that stretch, yielding a 7.17 ERA, however he’s posted stable leads to an exorbitantly hitter-friendly Triple-A setting in every of the previous two seasons. Dugger’s 4.31 earned run common with the Rangers’ Triple-A affiliate in 2023 truly led all certified beginning pitchers within the Pacific Coast League and ranked ranked fourth amongst starters with at the very least 70 innings pitched. He coupled that mark with a 22.6% strikeout fee, 9.5% stroll fee and 43.5% ground-ball fee.
Baseball America ranked Dugger among the many Marlins’ prime 30 prospects annually from 2018-20, labeling him a possible back-of-the-rotation starter thanks extra to a deep and various five-pitch arsenal than as a result of anybody really plus providing. He’ll take that ability set abroad in his first foray into skilled ball in Asia, and in doing so will safe a a lot bigger payday than he’d have commanded as a depth arm in Triple-A hoping for what would’ve doubtless been a quick name to the Majors earlier than once more being a DFA candidate as an out-of-options journeyman.
Dugger has by no means been seen as an influence arm, averaging simply 90.9 mph on his four-seamer and 90.1 mph on his sinker all through his large league trials. That lack of velo received’t be as evident within the KBO, the place the typical fastball clocks in decrease than in MLB.
As a former 18th-round decide, he’ll relish this chance to safe the biggest assured wage of his profession. And with a pleasant season for the Landers, Dugger might place himself to re-sign on a seven-figure deal (or near it). Sufficient success might garner him some curiosity from Japan’s NPB or maybe even pave the way in which for an eventual return to the Majors.