Right-hander Adam Plutko is eyeing a return to the Major Leagues after a strong two-year stint in the Korea Baseball Organization, tweets Jon Heyman of the New York Post. The 32-year-old hurler landed with the 2023 KBO champion LG Twins after a largely nondescript five-year run between Cleveland and Baltimore and has found plenty of success pitching overseas.
In two seasons with the KBO’s Twins, Plutko has pitched to a 2.40 ERA in 285 1/3 innings. He’s still not a prolific strikeout arm, fanning just 21.7% of his opponents, but Plutko sports a sharp 6% walk rate and a solid 46% ground-ball rate during his time overseas. That’s a marked increase over his MLB numbers; from 2016-21 he logged 273 2/3 innings between the Indians and Orioles, recording a 5.39 ERA, 17% strikeout rate, 7.2% walk rate and 28.8% ground-ball rate — primarily working as a fifth/sixth starter with Cleveland.
Given his age, Plutko isn’t likely to command particularly long-term interest if MLB clubs are intrigued to roll the dice and see what he can bring to the table in a return affair. But he’s a year younger than Josh Lindblom was when he signed with the Brewers out of South Korea (three years, $9.125MM) and two years younger than Drew Rucinski was last year when he signed with the A’s following a successful KBO run of his own (one year, $3MM).
A low-cost deal for one or two years doesn’t seem out of the realm of possibility. Even if guaranteed rotation spots are tough to come by, Plutko could be targeted by clubs looking for an affordable swingman to serve as a sixth or seventh starter in the inevitable event that injuries thin out their more prominent rotation options. With 51 career relief outings in the Majors, Plutko is no stranger to being a long man in the bullpen.