Taylor Hearn to Play 2024 Season in Japan

Taylor Hearn
(Photo by Ben Ludeman/Texas Rangers/Getty Images)

Former Texas Rangers left-hander Taylor Hearn will spend the 2024 season in Japan. The Hiroshima Toyo Carp of Japan’s NPB has agreed to terms on a deal with the 29-year old lefty, as reported by Yahoo Japan. Hearn elected free agency back in October. The Rangers designated him for assignment in July. Reports indicate that Hiroshima’s agreement with Hearn is worth $900,000 for the next year. The team also agreed to a one-year deal worth $1.3 million with right-hander Thomas Hatch. The Pittsburgh Pirates released Hatch late last month. He was was initially expected to sign with the Nippon-Ham Fighters prior to landing a deal with the Carp.

Swing Role with Rangers

Taylor Hearn made his major league debut in 2019 with the Rangers, and spent parts of five seasons with the club. Hearn posted an ERA of 5.11 and a 4.45 FIP during that time. From 2021-22, Hearn became versatile with the Rangers. He pitched both as a member of the starting rotation and out of the bullpen throughout those two seasons. That stretch accounted for a 204 1/3 of Hearn’s career 229 innings for the Rangers. Both campaigns saw him post strong numbers out of the bullpen.

Limited Innings in 2023 for Hearn

Unfortunately, that success didn’t translate over in his limited time as a full-time reliever during the 2023 season. He struggled to an 11.40 ERA in 15 innings while splitting time between the Rangers, Royals, and Braves organizations. As for the 2024 season, Hearn figures to have the opportunity to pitch in a full-time relief role on a regular basis with the Carp. Hatch, on the other hand, has found more big league success during his career than Hearn. He was a third-round pick by the Chicago Cubs in the 2016 draft, and made his big league debut with the Toronto Blue Jays during the shortened 2020 season. He impressed in his first taste of big league action with a 2.73 ERA in 26 1/3 innings.

Hatch struggled the following two seasons, however, as he pitched 14 innings in the majors with a 10.93 ERA. He got a more extensive opportunity in the majors in 2023, however, and did reasonably well with it. Across 28 2/3 innings with the Blue Jays and Pirates, Hatch posted a 4.08 ERA. He had a strong 52.3% groundball rate and a respectable 20.2% strikeout rate. Those decent results and promising peripherals surely made Hatch an attractive target for Hiroshima, and he’ll now join Hearn on the Carp pitching staff in 2024.

 

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