Tigers sign free agent infielder Kim Sun-binA week after losing An Chi-hong to the Lotte Giants, the Kia Tigers made sure their other free agent wouldn’t face the same fate and announced the signing of infielder Kim Sun-bin on Tuesday.
“I’m glad to be able to continue my career with the Kia Tigers, and I’m thankful to the club for recognizing me,” said Kim through a Tigers’ press release. “I’ll fulfill my role by being the first one to act so our team can develop one step further.”
Having made his KBO debut with the Tigers in 2008, Kim competed in 1,035 games over 11 seasons and has a 0.300 career batting average with 973 hits, 351 RBIs and 502 runs and 132 stolen bases.
He had his best season in 2017, when the Tigers won both the regular season and the Korean Series. Throughout the 2017 season, Kim had a career-high 0.370 batting average with five home runs, 64 RBIs and 176 hits.
Over his 11 seasons with the Tigers, he’s experienced two Korean Series victories as well as two regular season wins.
“Since I’ve finalized my contract after a long [negotiating] period, I feel the responsibility that I have to play better this season,” Kim said. “I’ll only be focusing on baseball and helping our team play better this season.”
The Tigers were disappointed by a seventh place finish last season with 62 wins, two draws and 80 losses. As they’ve been advancing to the postseason for three straight seasons, from 2016, 2017 and 2018, last season was also a huge letdown for the fans.
Due to this, the Tigers underwent a major change by hiring a new foreign manager, Matt Williams. In addition to Williams, the Tigers also signed a new foreign pitcher Aaron Brooks in November. They also signed a number of veterans through the second round draft or trade in a bid to help develop their younger players faster.
After the 2019 season ended, two of the Tigers star players became free agents and the club angered fans by losing An last week to the Giants.
On Tuesday, the Tigers also announced their compensation player for An. If a club signs a free agent from another team, it has to either pay the former team twice the player’s 2019 salary and provide a compensation player, or pay three times the 2019 salary.
They’ve chosen the Giants’ right-handed pitcher Kim Hyun-soo. Kim was a rookie last season, appearing in only six games. While tossing six and one-third of an inning for the Giants over six games, he picked up one loss with a 1.42 ERA.
In addition to Kia’s free agent signing, the Hanwha Eagles also announced the signing of free agent pitcher Yoon Kyu-jin.
The Eagles said Yoon agreed to a one-year contract, with an option of another year, at a maximum of 500 million won.
BY KANG YOO-RIM [firstname.lastname@example.org]