Two years ago, the Orioles snagged a prized free agent from the Japanese league, Tsuyoshi Wada. Sadly, the Wada era never was.
Wada was signed to a two-year, $8.15 million contract, and never got to pitch with the Orioles. When he reported to spring training in 2012, the Orioles seemingly had a dearth of starters.
Wei-Yin Chen was an unknown, Jason Hammel had just been acquired, and Miguel Gonzalez wasn’t even in the organization. The Orioles were depending on Wada, but he had a sore elbow a few days into camp, and by May, he underwent Tommy John surgery.
Wada pitched for Norfolk this year and had a number of bad starts before putting together some good ones, but by then, the Orioles had a full quota of starters. Wada’s methods made him unsuitable for the bullpen; he takes quite a long time to warm up.
Even in September, Wada didn’t come up, and now his contract expired, and his third year option expired, he’ll look for a job.
The Orioles won’t bring him back even on a minor league contract. It’s unthinkable that someone would offer him a major league contract now, and if he wants to pitch in the U.S., it will have to be on a make good basis.
He could always return to Japan, but after all he’s been through, and his work ethic hasn’t been questioned, Wada won’t want to leave the States without a genuine shot at the major leagues.