Report: Roenis Elias Leaving Chicago Cubs Organization for South Korea’s SSG Landers

Roenis Elias of Team Cuba pitches in the first inning against Team USA during the World Baseball Classic Semifinals at loanDepot park on March 19, 2023 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Megan Briggs/Getty Images)

By Matthew Tallarini
World Baseball Network

Cuban starting pitcher Roenis Elias is expected to sign with SSG Landers of the Korea Baseball Organization for the 2023 regular season, Francys Romero of Beisbolfr.com reported today.

The SSG Landers have an opening on the roster to replace Enny Romero, a former Major Leaguer who has yet to pitch this season due to shoulder problems. The club intends to have Elias fill the opening in the starting rotation. 

Elias started the season with the Iowa Cubs in Triple-A and posted a 2-0 record with a 5.48 ERA in four starts. Elias as well pitched in the 2023 World Baseball Classic for Cuba, going 0-1 in two starts and one appearance out of the bullpen, posting a 5.00 ERA through nine innings of work, allowing eight hits, three home runs, walking two batters and striking out four during the tournament. 

During the 2022-23 winter league season, Elias pitched for the Aguilas Cibaenas in the Liga de Beisbol Profesional de la Republica Dominicana, where he went 4-0 in seven starts, posting a 0.92 ERA in 39 innings pitched. He allowed 20 hits, walked 10 batters, and struck out 38 on his way to winning the Lanzador Del Ano award for the league. 

The SSG Landers won the Korea Baseball Organization championship last season, beating the Kiwoom Heroes in six games, and could have just added a keystone to their rotation in Elias. 

The SSG Landers are currently in second place in the KBO with a 16-10 record, and tied for first place with the Lotte Giants (15-9) and the LG Twins (17-11).  

The rest of SSG Landers starting rotation is Kirk McCarty, Oh Won-seok, former St. Louis Cardinals hurler Kim Kwang-hyun, and Park Jong-hun. 

Elias has played eight seasons in Major League Baseball from 2014 to 2022, including three separate stints with the Seattle Mariners, two seasons with the Boston Red Sox from 2016-17, and half a season with the Washington Nationals in 2019 after being traded from Seattle at the trade deadline. 

In Major League Baseball, Elias holds a 22-24 career record with a 3.96 ERA, and striking out 331.  

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