In his first big signing with the Orioles, Dan Duquette brought Tsoyoshi Wada to the U.S. The Japanese left-hander was followed by other major league clubs, but he signed with the Orioles.
Wada’s two-year, $8.15 million contract was viewed as a shrewd move, and Duquette followed it a month later with Wei-Yin Chen’s signing.
At the time of his Dec. 2011 signing, Wada was far better known among baseball insiders than Chen, but it turned out Wada never pitched for the Orioles, and Chen pitched quite well.
Wada needed Tommy John surgery in May 2012, and labored in Norfolk long after he was expected in Baltimore.
The Orioles didn’t feel that a post-surgery Wada could help them, and he was never recalled.
Wada signed with the Chicago Cubs, and after parts of two seasons there, he’s gone back to Japan, signing with the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks.
In Aug. 2014, Wada pitched against the Orioles at Wrigley Field. He allowed one run on six hits and striking out eight in 6 1/3 innings, getting the win.
Wada got in eight games for the Cubs this year, but was left off the postseason roster and was later designated for assignment to make room for former Orioles backup catcher Taylor Teagarden.
In his two seasons with Chicago, Wada was 5-5 with a 3.36 ERA.
Since the two signings, the Orioles haven’t made a major signing out of Japan. While Chen is Taiwanese, he pitched in Japan ahead of his Orioles signing.
In Feb. 2014, they signed South Korean Suk-min Yoon, but that didn’t work out, and after a year he headed back home.
The Orioles will continue to look for the next Chen in East Asia.
MORE ORIOLES: Dylan Bundy's health key for Orioles in 2016