|Mike Loree, pictured 2017, is ready to go with the Guardians in 2018.|
Photo: The Oliver Photo
The Fubon Guardians did what they had to do and came to terms with their MVP RHP Mike Loree for the 2018 season. Terms of the deal were not made public. The CPBL veteran will report to camp on February 20.
Entering his sixth year in the CPBL and fourth with the Rhinos/Guardians, Loree is coming off a year that saw him lead the league in strikeouts (154), ERA (2.18) and tie for the league-lead in wins (16) across 25 starts and 160.2 innings of work, good for an average of 6.4 innings per start.
As Taiwan's most dominant and consistent pitcher, and possibly the most valuable pitcher to his team in Asia, Loree missed his first couple starts to begin the year in 2017 due to a minor upper-body injury, but once he took the hump, he was practically unstoppable. The lanky righty had a sub-2.00 ERA after 11 starts, went seven or more innings in 11 of his 25 games, and struck out double-digit batters on three separate occasions. Unfortunately, the Guardians struggled in 2017, finishing last in the four-team league with a record of 48-70-2.
Now that the Guardians have locked up Loree, they will turn their attention to their other two foreign-born allowed roster spots. The team has had the services of RHP Scott Richmond since 2016 and finished 2017 with Cory Riordan and Richmond. The team will most certainly sign two pitchers as they are much more coveted than positional players.
With this deal now complete, we may see other dominoes fall in the form of foreign-born signings, as rumors suggest: Bryan Woodall (Brothers/Guardians), Zack Segovia and Darin Downs (Lamigo Monkeys) and Bruce Billings (Uni Lions)