Right-handed pitcher Spencer Watkins (31), who had interest from KBO teams, has decided to stay in the United States. He has agreed to terms with the Washington Nationals.
Watkins announced his signing with the Washington Nationals through his agency, Gatta Sports Management, on April 18 (KST) and thanked KBO teams for their interest.
On the 14th, ‘MASN’ reporter Locke Cubaco said, ‘The number of KBO teams that will sign former Baltimore Orioles pitcher Watkins has narrowed down to two. A decision appears to be imminent,” and reported that Watkins is close to joining the KBO.
But the “official” never came, and Watkins chose to stay in the United States. “I’m really grateful to all the teams in the KBO and Nippon Professional Baseball for taking the time to reach out and show their interest,” Watkins said. As a foreign player with very few spots available, it’s an honor to be considered,” he said, first thanking the teams for their interest.
“After much discussion with my family, I have decided to stay in the United States,” Watkins continued. “My aspiration is to play baseball in Korea, Japan, or anywhere else, but right now I’m focused on having a healthy baby girl,” he said, explaining that the decision was made for his family, including the expected birth of his daughter next January.
“I’m excited to announce that I have agreed to terms with the Nats and look forward to contributing to the team,” Watkins said. While the terms of the deal with the Nats were not disclosed, Major League Baseball Trade Rumors (MLBTR) reported that it is “likely to be a minimum-split deal, as Watkins has no minor league options.
Watkins, who was drafted by the Detroit Tigers in the 30th round (910th overall) of the 2014 draft, was suspended for 50 games in April 2016 after testing positive for a second time for substance abuse while in the minors. He tested positive for a narcotic, not a performance-enhancing substance. Because of this history, there was talk that KBO teams were reluctant to sign Watkins.