Bears re-sign pitcher Yoo Hee-kwan on one-year deal
The Doosan Bears have re-signed veteran Yoo Hee-kwan on a one-year contract, finalizing a deal at the very last minute to bring back the fan-favorite pitcher for the 2021 season.
The Bears announced Tuesday that they re-signed free agent Yoo on a one-year contract at a maximum 1 billion won ($910,000) including 300 million won in annual salary and 700 million won in incentives.
Yoo is the sixth Doosan free agent to sign a contract this offseason and the fourth to return to the club. Third baseman Heo Kyoung-min signed a four-year deal with the Bears in December, followed by outfielder Jung Soo-bin on a six-year deal and shortstop Kim Jae-ho.
Second baseman Choi Joo-hwan and first baseman Oh Jae-il have both accepted offers from other clubs — Choi has moved to the SK Wyverns and Oh to the Samsung Lions. Pitcher Lee Yong-chan is the only player to remain unsigned.
At 34-years-old, Yoo has consistently picked up at least ten wins each season for the past eight years, but his form has started to slide over the last three seasons. Yoo has never been an especially fast pitcher and he typically racks up a fairly high ERA each season, but he has been a solid part of the Doosan starting rotation for almost a decade.
Yoo joined the Bears in 2009 and began to pick up starts from 2013, when he ended the season with a 3.53 ERA with 10 wins, seven losses, a save and three holds in 41 appearances. Yoo's best season came in 2015, when he finished with 18 wins and a 3.94 ERA.
Things started to slip over the next few seasons, with Yoo falling to a 6.70 ERA in 2018 before bouncing back to a career-best 3.25 ERA in 2019. That inconsistency was on display again last year, when Yoo's losses outnumbered his wins for the first time in his career, at 11 to 10, and he racked up a 5.02 ERA.
Over 10 seasons with the Bears, Yoo has a career 4.44 ERA with 97 saves and 62 wins.
Yoo will quickly rejoin the Bears at spring training.
BY JIM BULLEY [firstname.lastname@example.org]