The Uni-President 7-Eleven Lions signed SP-L Logan Darnell to an unknown contract
Of the four, soon to be five, teams that make up the Chinese Professional Baseball League, perhaps none is as vexing as the Uni-President 7-Eleven Lions. The Fubon Guardians come close, but they are vexing for an inability to gel as a team and execute. The Lions are vexing because their front office always seems to do below even the bare minimum required to make the team better. They aren’t trying to tank or anything like that, but they simply refuse to take advantage of the CPBL rules in the same manner as the other teams.
This is most evident in the way they have used their foreign roster spot this year. The CPBL rules allow four foreigners to be rostered by an organization. Every team takes advantage of this rule, except for the Lions who entered 2020 with a rickety pitching staff and only three foreigners on the team. Every single CPBL fan and their mother knew that pitching was going to be a problem for the Lions even on their staff’s best days. Three weeks into the season and well, the Lions pitching has been as suspect as it was predicted to be.
Enter into the picture Logan Darnell. He had a brief cup of coffee in Major League Baseball, but he was pretty abysmal in the big leagues. A few years after his rough 2014 MLB appearance he found himself out of affiliated baseball altogether. He immediately caught on with the Somerset Patriots of the Atlantic League where he was once again, not very good. In 14.1 innings for the Patriots, he tallied a 5.02 ERA and had a heck of a time keeping guys from making solid contact off of his stuff. Another brief stop in Liga Mexicana de Béisbol produced much the same results.
The southpaw found himself without a winter ball team for the first time in a while until injuries and poor performance led to Águilas Cibaeñas of Liga de Béisbol Profesional de la República Dominicana bringing him in as a depth move. It was a move that paid off as Darnell spent 13.1 innings being lights out. He had a minuscule 0.900 WHIP and an even tinier 0.68 ERA. He was an essential arm out of the Cibaeñas bullpen as they pushed through the LIDOM playoffs. Once they were eliminated he ended up with Cardenales de Lara during their run to the Serie del Caribe championship game. Darnell started two games and was excellent. In 11 innings he posted an ERA of 1.64 and was a groundball machine.
Prior to his LIDOM and CWS stints, I would have said that the Lions weren’t improving much by picking up Darnell. However, during those months he turned into a groundball machine as he relied more and more on his heavy sinker. If he brings that approach to the Lions he can be successful. In an offensive league such as the CPBL, he won’t be quite as dominant, but by the time he gets his shot with the top team, he’ll only need to be good to stick around. The Lions don’t often get these types of moves right, but they should have a great addition to the team on their hands with Darnell.
Lead photo courtesy of Unknown – Unknown