Robbie Erlin has agreed to a one year deal with the Nippon Ham Fighters, per reports on the Tweetbox. The 30 year old left handed pitcher will thus be spending the 2021 season in the NPB.
Erlin, of course, was once a Texas Rangers pitching prospect of some note, which is why we are doing this post about him. Erlin was the Rangers third round pick in the 2009 draft, which famously saw Texas fail to sign Matt Purke, their first round pick. Erlin, an undersized high schooler out of California, put up minuscule ERAs in low-A in 2010 and in high-A in 2011, earning an early summer promotion to AA Frisco where he held his own as a 20 year old before being sent to San Diego, along with Joe Wieland, at the 2011 trade deadline for reliever Mike Adams.
Erlin spent at least part of six seasons in the majors for the Padres, along with a seventh season on the 60 day injured list due to Tommy John surgery, putting up a 4.54 ERA in 313 IP. Erlin was cut loose by the Padres after the 2019 season, and split 2020 between the Pittsburgh Padres and the Atlanta Braves.
Erlin will presumably spend a year or two in Japan and then sign a 2 year, $5M deal with a third year club option with the Rangers when he returns to the States.