PHOENIX -- Eric Stults has pitched in China and Taiwan, but he's hoping to make his next Asian baseball trip more than just a brief visit.
The Dodgers sold Stults' contract to the Hiroshima Carp of the Japan Central League this week. Stults, who was officially released Wednesday, left the Dodgers on Tuesday and drove home to Indiana. He'll pack up his family and leave next week, having been briefed on his new team and league.
"I enjoyed the Taiwan and China goodwill trips, but I'm a little more excited about this," said Stults. "Japan is a lot more westernized, there are more Americans there. I talked with Hiroki Kuroda, who played for Hiroshima, and he told me some of the basics and said if I had any questions when I'm there, just to e-mail Kenji Nimura [Kuroda's interpreter] and he'd get back to me. He said they have a great stadium, great fans, a manager he respects and they treat the players well. I think I'll enjoy it."
The 30-year-old Stults, drafted in 2002, figured this week it was time for a change after first hearing of Japanese interest over the winter. Out of options, he saw he wasn't going to be the Dodgers' fifth starter, and the inquiries from Japan had renewed.
He came to a quick agreement, accepting a one-year deal for 75 million yen (about $804,000) plus incentives, nearly double the $410,000 he would have earned if he spent the entire 2010 season in the Major Leagues. The club also has a 2011 option, and the Dodgers received several hundred thousand dollars as compensation.
Stults will receive a severance of $125,000, with the Dodgers realizing a savings of $375,000 from his $500,000 salary.
"Financially, it is a boost for us," said Stults, who will take wife Stephanie, 4-year-old daughter Madeline and 20-month-old son Luke. "I talked to six or seven guys who have played over there, and I got no indication from anybody that they didn't like it. They all loved it.
"We're going excited about the opportunity to get a fresh start and a chance to experience a different culture. It's something new, a once-in-a-lifetime experience that few people get. I could have stayed, gone through waivers. Being bounced around as many times as I have, it's been really hard on the family the past couple years. This gives us a little security and stability to stay in one place for a while."