Brad Penny was once a solid major-league starter; he made the All-Star team in 2006 and 2007 and in the latter year, was third in NL Cy Young voting.
After a number of injuries, he came back and made 31 starts for the 2011 Tigers, but with a high ERA (5.30); he pitched in only one game in the postseason for Detroit, and not well (five runs in 1⅔ innings). With no major-league offers in sight, Penny signed with the Fukuoka Softbank Hawks in Japan's major leagues.
That didn't work out, according to MLB Daily Dish, which has this translation from a Japanese-language report:
According to team officials, Penny was "unable to adapt well to baseball in Japan, [and he] strongly desired to leave."
Now, though, there might be a chance for the 33-year-old Penny to return to MLB, says Buster Olney:
Brad Penny has offers to be a starter and offers to be a reliever from MLB teams. Will choose soon.— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) May 8, 2012
There are many teams that have issues in both their rotation and bullpen. If Penny is healthy again, he might be able to help out, and probably wouldn't cost too much.