Over the last week, two former KC Royals returned to the United States to play baseball.
Lefty Everett Teaford, who I do not think ever got a legitimate chance with the Royals, signed with the TB Rays.
Teaford spent the 2014 season in Korea in the KBO, pitching for the LG Twins. It is an offensive-heavy league, so his numbers could be a little skewed: 5.24 ERA in 99.2 innings. He had 7.7 strikeouts per nine innings and 4.6 walks per nine innings as a starter. Teaford allowed 105 hits (14 doubles, two triples, and nine home runs). He walked 51 and hit six, while striking out 85. His WHIP was 1.57 and opponents hit .271 against him.
The Rays roster is in flux, so a good spring could put Teaford onto the big league roster, or at least in line for a big league callup if he were to start the season with Triple-A Durham.
The other returnee is first baseman Kila Ka’aihue, who signed a minor league deal with the Washington Nationals. It includes a big league spring training invite.
Ka’aihue spent part of the 2013 season and the entire 2014 season in Japan playing for the Hiroshima Carp. There, he hit a combined .258 with a .358 on-base percentage and a .443 slugging percentage. In 154 games combined, Ka’aihue hit 25 home runs and 20 doubles, drove in 85 runs, walked 77 times, and struck out 150 times.
With the uncertainty of Ryan Zimmerman at first base (and his health), Ka’aihue could sneak onto the Nats roster as insurance and as a power left-handed pinch-hitting option.
Hopefully these two can make their new teams’ Opening Day rosters.