According to Fox Sports, former Royals starting pitcher Brian Bannister has signed a one year deal with the Tokyo Giants. Bannister opted to become a free agent instead of accepting an outright placement to AAA Omaha by the Royals.  Bannister is 29 and could still wind up back in the majors, but for now he needs to refine his pitching. Over the last three seasons, he went 23-40 with an ERA of 5.58 after having a good 2007 where he went 12-9 with 3.87 ERA after being traded by the Mets.

I was always a fan of Bannister, more so for the standup guy he was. No matter whether he pitched a good ball game or bad, he met with the media, took full responsibility for his game and never made excuses. The game that sticks out in my mind last year was when he outpitched Stephen Strasburg in an interleague game in D.C. on June 23rd when he pitched into the seventh inning and won 1-0.

Ironically, that would be Bannister’s last win of the season. He was 7-5 at that point, but then lost his final seven decisions over, including six as a starter where he ERA shot up over a full point from that win in Washington.