The announcement of the contract for foreign pitchers, which KIA Tigers fans eagerly await, has been delayed a little more. According to the KIA team, the medical test process is still not completed. KIA plans to announce the contract for foreign pitching duo at least within the second week of January.
KIA started to show massive strides in the Stove League starting in the new year. KIA caught Kim Sun-bin, its internal FA, and continued to accompany veteran Choi Hyung-woo through multi-year contract as a non-FA.
First, Kia officially announced on Jan. 4 that it would sign an FA contract with Kim Sun-bin for a total of 3 billion won, including a three-year contract of 600 million won, an annual salary of 1.8 billion won, and an option of 600 million won. After signing his first FA contract worth 4 billion won four years ago, Kim Sun-bin will effectively become a “Tigers One Club Man” after signing another FA contract with Kia.
KIA immediately announced the signing of a multi-year contract with Choi Hyung-woo as a non-FA player on the following day, January 5. The deal covers a total of 2.2 billion won (2.3 million U.S. dollars), including 2 billion won (one year plus one year) in annual salary and 200 million won (one million won) in options. The 2025 contract will be automatically extended if the 2024 option is met.
Ahead of the 2017 season, Choi moved to KIA and opened the 10 billion era (a total of 10 billion won for four years) for the first time as a KBO League FA. Four years later, Choi signed his second FA contract with a total of 4.7 billion won for three years ahead of the 2021 season.
Choi had a hard time in the 2021 season (batting average of 0.233/87 hits/ 12 home runs/ 55 RBIs) and the 2022 season (batting average of 0.264/120 hits/ 14 home runs/ 71 RBIs). However, Choi has successfully rebounded in the 2023 season. Choi played 121 games in the 2023 season and hit hard with a batting average of 0.302/130 hits/ 17 home runs/ 81 RBIs/ on-base percentage of 0.487.
Kia concluded the contract between Kim Sun-bin and Choi Hyung-woo, which was the biggest task in the Stove League this winter. Now, Kia has to settle the issue of contracting a duo of foreign pitchers. Kia sought for a foreign player market based on replacement of basically two foreign pitchers this winter. After the Major League’s winter meeting, which took place in the first week of December, it decided on specific candidates and submitted a contract proposal. Renewing contract with Thomas Panoni, who had been on the list of suspended players, was not its top priority 헤라카지노주소.
Considering that Kia’s native starters are three left-handers (Yang Hyun-jong, Lee Ui-ri, and Yoon Young-cheol), it has searched for foreign pitching duo as right-handed resources. And the contract with two right-handed pitchers was close at the end of the year. However, due to the situation in the U.S., where the team is taking long vacations in the end of the year and the new year, the medical test process has been postponed continuously. Moreover, the plan to complete medical tests within the first week of January and announce them en masse seems to have collapsed.
“Medical testing procedures for foreign pitchers are being delayed more than expected. Medical data on MRI and other medical data in the U.S. takes longer than expected,” a source at Kia said on Jan. 5. The process will likely be difficult to complete by the end of this week. It is better to announce the contract perfectly as it is too late anyway. “We plan to do our best to finalize the contract within next week.”
Foreign pitchers are the most important task for KIA teams this winter. It seems that chances are growing that this is a surprise card that some candidates have unexpectedly drawn. It is curious who will be the star of KIA’s right-handed one-two punch to be unveiled next week.