The Hanwha Eagles have signed a foreign pitcher contract next year. After renewing the contract with Felix Pena, they recruited ‘$1 million’ prospect Birch Smith.
The Hanwha team officially announced the Smith contract on the 18th. The terms of the contract are $100,000 down payment, $700,000 guaranteed annual salary, and $200,000 incentive, which can receive up to $1 million. $1 million is the current maximum annual salary for new foreign players in the KBO League.
Salary means the club’s expectations about the player’s ability. Hanwha chose Smith as the first starting pitcher. Born in 1990 and 32 years old, Smith is 1m93 tall and throws a fastball of up to 155km. He also uses a variety of pitches, including slider, curveball, and changeup. His career big league record is 5-11 with 184 strikeouts and an earned run average of 6.03 in 102 appearances.
It is a ‘plus’ that he has finished adapting to Asian baseball while playing for the Seibu Lions of the Japanese professional baseball this year. He finished the season as a starter in the first half and in the bullpen in the second half. Although he failed to renew his contract, Hanwha also gave Smith high marks as he was evaluated as a pitcher with consistently good skills.
In the meantime, Smith had a strong impression that injuries were frequent compared to his talent. He couldn’t play the first half properly in Japan due to a small injury. At Hanwha, it is expected that the first task will be to wash away concerns about the condition of the body.
After finishing third in the regular season in 2018, Hanwha has been at the bottom for four consecutive years. It fell to 9th place in 2019, and since then stayed in the ‘last place’ at 10th place for three consecutive years. Next year, the third season of coach Carlos Subero, he must produce results. Foreign pitchers are absolutely necessary. 토토사이트
In the meantime, Hanwha has not seen any effect from foreign pitchers. Warwick Saupold, who played an active part in the 2019-2020 season, achieved 10 wins for the second year in a row, but lacked the sense of overwhelm as an ‘ace’, and Nick Kingham and Ryan Carpenter, who opened together for the second year in a row following last year, were disappointing. In particular, Kingham and Carpenter succeeded in renewing the contract, but were expelled after a string injury and extreme sluggishness at the beginning of the season, and after that, Hanwha recruited Pena and Yefri Ramirez as replacement pitchers.
This season, Hanwha’s four foreign pitchers totaled only 8 wins and 13 losses. It should definitely be different in the new season. With Jang Si-hwan and Lee Tae-yang recruited, foreign pitchers must take the lead in a situation where the domestic starting lineup is by no means weak. In particular, I have high expectations for Smith. It is no exaggeration to say that foreign pitchers are the key to getting out of the bottom.