Pat Dean, a Naugatuck native, has signed a free agent contract with the Kia Tigers of the Korean Baseball Organization in South Korea.
The signing was announced on Sunday.
“Looking forward to this new opportunity,” said the 27-year-old Dean as he boarded a flight to Seoul, South Korea on Tuesday.
Dean’s contract with the Tigers is for one year. He will earn $900,000.
Dean is one of three foreign players on the Tigers’ roster, the most allowed by KBO rules. The Kia Tigers play in Gwangju, Korea and have won ten KBO championships.
Dean pitched at Naugatuck High School and Boston College. He was drafted by the Minnesota Twins in 2010 in the third round.
Dean made his Major League debut this season with the Twins after spending seven years in the Minor League. He appeared in 19 games, including nine starts, and pitched 67 1/3 innings. He had a 6.28 ERA and a 1-6 record. In seven seasons in the Minor League, he went 51-57 with a 4.12 ERA in 154 appearances.
The Twins designated Dean back to Triple-A in October and he became a free agent.
The Korean Baseball Organization’s season starts on April 1. The ten-team league plays 144 regular season games, followed by the postseason and championship series. There is an 18-game exhibition schedule in March to prepare teams for the six-month regular season.