Remember David Buchanan? The tall, slightly elfin-looking guy who spent several seasons at the back end of one of the Phillies’ 2014-2015 rotation? (You actually might remember him better from his time spent on the DL during those seasons.) He had moments of brilliance, but he was largely a long shot to be more permanent part of the Phillies.
The Phillies designated him for assignment at the end of the 2016 season (which he’d spent entirely in the minors), so he decided to try his luck in Japan. He signed with the Yakult Swallows on a one-year, $750k contract at the end of 2016, and pitched pretty well in 2017. He had a 6-13 record (that’s mostly because the Swallows aren’t, uh, let’s just say they’re not the best NPB team), but pitched to a 3.66 ERA in 159.2 innings, and notched a career-high 112 strikeouts. He gave up just about a hit per inning, but it wasn’t a bad showing.
Near the end of 2017, Buchanan signed a multi-year contract with the Swallows (the exact length is unknown, but my best guess is two years) worth $1.5 million a year, double what he made in 2017. And on top of that, the Swallows named Buchanan their opening day starter for 2018. Not too shabby for a guy who had essentially been a quad-A pitcher! In fact, it’s pretty excellent.
My partner loves the Swallows and follows them closely, and he’s been dutifully reporting David Buchanan news to me since he signed with them in 2016. And from what I can tell, the dude is having the time of his life in Japan. He’s been featured in Swallows marketing, and generally seems game for anything. Example, you ask? I’m so glad I can share this with you.
That is David Buchanan in a Swallows onesie. And it’s not for a promotional photo or anything. A Swallows fan caught him on the street with his coffee! Dressed like that! Why was he dressed like that? Who knows! Is it normal for him to wear a Swallows onesie on the street in the morning as he goes to work? No idea! But there he is, wearing one of the silliest things I’ve seen in awhile like it’s just normal clothing, and smiling like it’s his job.
Not every guy who makes the majors is destined to stick there. Buchanan obviously decided to try things out in Japan, and I’m so thrilled he’s found success with the Swallows. It couldn’t have been easy to take that chance and move so far away, and I hope that when a fan stops him to take his picture on his way to work, he can give himself a little gold star for being so brave (or should I say: being so bold).
Unfortunately, I don’t know where you can buy one of those very comfortable looking onesies. David, if you happen to read this, please let us know.