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Only two spots remaining for foreign players in the KBO

Dec 22,2018
With three more signings on Thursday, there are now just two remaining spots left for foreign players in the KBO next season - the Doosan Bears and the KT Wiz’s position player spots.

From left: Josh Lindblom, Seth Frankoff and Carlos Asuaje
The Bears struggled to keep a position player last season, but it didn’t stop them from walking away with the pennant. This year the Bears have still not found someone to fill that all-important spot, but they did re-sign their two foreign pitchers - Josh Lindblom and Seth Frankoff - on Thursday.

Lindblom signed a one-year contract at $1.92 million. Of the $1.92 million, Lindblom will receive $70,000 as a signing bonus, $1.7 million as annual income and $150,000 as incentives. Throughout the 2018 season, Lindblom picked up 15 wins and four losses with a 2.88 ERA. Lindblom topped the KBO in ERA last season.

Frankoff also saw a significant increase in his contract, signing at $1.23 million. Of the $1.23 million, he will receive $50,000 as signing bonus, $1.1 million as annual income and $80,000 as incentives. Along with Lindblom, Frankoff also played a significant role in helping the Bears to their dominant victory in the 2018 regular season.

Frankoff picked up 18 wins and three losses with a 3.74 ERA. Frankoff was good enough to top the league in wins and winning percentage, at .857.

Throughout the 2018 regular season, Lindblom and Frankoff picked up 33 of the Bears’ 93 wins.

With the re-signing, the Bears are once again left with only one spot open for a position player.

The Bears are being extra careful about signing their position player. After the 2017 season, the Bears parted with fan-favorite Nick Evans. In Evans’ two KBO seasons, he had a batting average of .301 with 51 home runs and 171 RBIs.

To replace Evans, the Bears signed Jimmy Paredes. Although Evans had a KBO career average of .301, the Bears still chose Paredes as he had the ability to cover first base, third base and outfield.

But their decision was quickly proven wrong.

Despite high expectations, the Bears didn’t see success from their new addition. In 21 games, Paredes had a disappointing .138 batting average and he was released from the club on June 1. Then on June 25, the Bears announced that Scott Van Slyke would replace Paredes. Van Slyke also proved to be the wrong choice, as he concluded his KBO career after just 12 games with a disappointing .128 batting average with one home run and four RBIs.

Due to this, the Bears played through the season with one less foreign player than other KBO clubs.

Earlier Thursday, the Lotte Giants signed a one-year contract with Carlos Asuaje at $551,000. Asuaje turned professional after being drafted by the Boston Red Sox during the 2013 MLB draft, although he didn’t make his MLB debut until September 2016 with the San Diego Padres.

Throughout the 2018 season, Asuaje appeared in 79 games for the Padres, but a disappointing .196 batting average meant he was designated for assignment on Dec. 7.

On Dec. 10, Asuaje was claimed off the waivers by the Texas Rangers and was sold to the Giants on Thursday.

In 175 major league games, Asuaje had a batting average of .240 with six home runs and 42 RBIs.

By signing Asuaje, the Giants have now filled their foreign player quota, having previously signed pitchers Brooks Raley and Jake Thompson.

As the Giants completed their foreign player signing, the Wiz is the only club, along with the Bears, to have a spot open for a foreign player.

Once the season ended, the Wiz quickly signed their two foreign pitchers - Raul Alcantara and William Cuevas.

Due to this, they are only left with one position player spot open for a foreign player.

However, it is unlikely that the Wiz will sign a new foreign player, as they are focusing on re-signing Mel Rojas Jr.

BY KANG YOO-RIM, AN HEE-SOO [kang.yoorim@joongang.co.kr]


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