Throughout the MLB off-season, there will be several “Team X waives Player X” headlines, but in the case of the Kansas City Royals and pitcher Luis Mendoza, there is a unique twist.
The #Royals have requested release waivers on right-handed pitcher Luis Mendoza, who plans to pitch in Japan next season.
— Kansas City Royals (@Royals) November 11, 2013
The Royals announced on Monday afternoon (via their official Twitter) that Mendoza has been officially waived by the team in order to allow him to take his services to Japan for the 2014 season. This is line with a previous report from Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star, who says that Mendoza is set to join the Nippon Ham Fighters upon his arrival.
In the grand scheme of the Royals, this is a minor blip. Mendoza posted a subpar ERA of 5.36 in 94 innings last season (as both a reliever and a starter), and it wasn’t a lock that Kansas City would tender him a contract for the upcoming season, regardless of other options. However, Mendoza was a useful Major League pitcher in 2012 when he accumulated 1.7 fWAR in 166 innings (25 starts), and the 30-year-old righty is certainly better than some pitchers who still hold down jobs in the States.
Perhaps Mendoza is starting the new trend, grabbing guaranteed money from Japan, but more likely, this is an interesting one-off scenario.