The Samsung Lions of the Korea Baseball Organization announced Friday that they’ve signed former Red Sox and Rockies right-hander Connor Seabold. The Beverly Hills Sports Council client will be guaranteed $900K with another $100K available to him via incentives, per Jee-ho Yoo of South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency.
Seabold, 27, was a third-round pick of the Phillies back in 2017 and has twice been traded — first to the Red Sox as part of the deal bringing Brandon Workman and Heath Hembree to Philadelphia, and second to the Rockies last winter in exchange for cash. Colorado released Seabold on the day of the Rule 5 draft, opening a spot to make a selection in the process.
Earlier in his professional tenure, Seabold ranked among the top pitching prospects in both the Phillies and Red Sox systems, but elbow and forearm injuries shortened his 2021 and 2022 seasons. Seabold came to the Rockies with a solid track record in the upper minors, but his lone season with the Rox proved nightmarish both in Colorado and with their Triple-A affiliate in Albuquerque.
Seabold started 13 games and made another 14 relief appearances with Colorado this past season but was tagged for a gruesome 7.52 ERA in the process. He posted a sharp 6.9% walk rate but struggled with a well below-average 16.4% strikeout rate and a sky-high 1.96 HR/9. Seabold’s status as a pronounced fly-ball pitcher did him no favors at Coors Field, and he allowed hard contact a fair bit more often than the average big league pitcher (40.5%). Things didn’t go any better in Triple-A, where Seabold posted a 7.47 ERA in 31 2/3 frames.
As recently as 2022, Seabold tossed 86 2/3 innings of 3.32 ERA ball with Triple-A Worcester in the Sox’ system, striking out 24.7% of his opponents against an excellent 5.3% walk rate. The Lions will be hoping for something closer to that form, and if he’s able to replicate that performance, Seabold would likely position himself to be re-signed on a potential seven-figure guarantee. Given that he’s only heading into his age-28 season, Seabold is certainly young enough that an eventual return to MLB could be in the cards.
Oftentimes that requires multiple strong seasons in the KBO or NPB, although right-hander Erick Fedde, who’s three years older than Seabold, just parlayed one dominant KBO season (wherein he was named league MVP and won the KBO’s Cy Young equivalent) into a two-year, $15MM deal with the White Sox. That’s an ideal scenario for any player…