Earlier today, it was reported by MLB Network’s Jon Heyman that right-handed pitcher Kyle Keller has signed with the Hanshin Tigers of the Nippon Baseball League in Japan.
RHP Kyle Keller (Pirates) has signed with the Hanshin Tigers in Japan. Keller, a client of Nello Gamberdino, will earn a guaranteed $1.3M, with another $300K in incentives— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) January 10, 2022
Keller, 28, was acquired by the Pittsburgh PIrates from the Los Angeles Angels for cash in April and struggled to catch any momentum as a part of the Pirates’ bullpen, as he allowed 27 earned runs and 30 hits over 33 innings pitched. In addition, he allowed a career-high nine home runs last season.
After the season ended in October, Keller was among the shopping list of players who were outrighted to Triple-A Indianapolis. Others included Wilmer Difo, Shea Spitzbarth, and Connor Overton, who was signed to a minor league deal by the Cincinnati Reds earlier this month.
According to MLB Trade Rumors, Keller is expected to compete for the Tigers’ closer role. Keller is expected to earn $1.3 million, with the ability to earn up to $300,000 in incentives. MLBTR also reports that the Tigers are expected to give Keller “high-leverage opportunities”, citing his impressive numbers in Triple-A, most notably his strikeout-to-walk ratio.