An signs a 2.6-billion-won, two-year contract with GiantsInfielder An Chi-hong signed a free-agent contract with the Lotte Giants on Monday.
The Giants announced that An has agreed to a two-year contract, with an option of another two years, with a maximum payout of 5.6 billion won ($4.8 million). In his guaranteed first two years, An can earn up to 2.6 billion won - 1.42 billion won in signing bonus, 580 million won in guaranteed annual salary and 600 million won in incentives.
Although An’s first two years will allow him to earn a maximum of 2.6 billion won, if the Giants decide to sign him for the additional two years, then he can earn up to a maximum of 3.1 billion won over the following two seasons, in the 2022 and 2023 seasons.
If all goes well, An will earn up to 5.6 billion won over the next four seasons.
“I’m thankful to the Kia Tigers fans and the club for supporting me throughout this time,” An said. “I’ll meet the expectations of the Lotte Giants and try my best to earn the support and the love of the passionate Lotte fans.”
With the signing of An, the Giants took care of the their infield weakness. In addition to An, the Giants earlier signed infielder Dixon Machado to strengthen their infield.
“By signing An Chi-hong, a league-proven second baseman, we thought that he will be able to strengthen our batting lineup and add competitiveness to the infield,” the Giants said.
“Through a reasonable contract, both the club and the player will work hard to achieve better results and show the fans that we’re not giving up in every game.”
As he was one of the most popular players for the Tigers, he posted a hand-written letter on social media thanking and apologizing to the Tigers fans.
An made his KBO debut with the Tigers in 2009, and through his 10 seasons with the club, he achieved a 0.300 batting average, with 100 home runs and 586 RBIs.
While with the Tigers, An experience two Korean Series victories and won the Golden Glove Award three times.
In the 2019 season, An finished with a 0.315 batting average with five home runs and 49 RBIs in 105 games.
An is the Giants’ second free agent to sign in the offseason. Before An, the Giants signed a two-year contract with pitcher Noh Kyung-eun, at 1.1 billion won.
Noh became a free agent after the 2018 season, but as he failed to sign his contract with the Giants, he had to skip the entire 2019 season and train by himself.
Due to this, he is currently playing in the Australian League, with Geelong-Korea, to prepare for the upcoming season.
In terms of the Giants’ three free agent players - outfielder Jeon Jun-woo, Ko Hyo-jun and Son Seung-lak - the club has yet to sign a contract with any of them.
BY KANG YOO-RIM [email@example.com]