KIA is still struggling with the biggest puzzle of the leap: finding a foreign pitcher. This is in contrast to the other nine teams in the KBO that have finalized their foreign pitcher selections. There have been twists and turns in the selection process, and it’s being speculated that the team could make an announcement next week. At this point, it’s all about getting it right.
Kia has been in the midst of a final push to sign a foreign pitcher, with both spots recently vacant. Despite the careful screening and contacting of candidates, things haven’t quite worked out the way Kia wants them to, according to people familiar with the situation. Some of the top offseason candidates have decided to stay in the U.S., 안전카지노사이트 and contracts have yet to be finalized with the remaining players.
Between mid- to late-December last year, KIA finally selected two players in sequence and entered the medical testing phase. The players underwent physicals in the U.S., and the films were sent back to Korea, where they were thoroughly reviewed by club officials. One player has been finalized. He’s a right-handed pitcher who can throw a fastball up to 150 kilometers per hour. Although he hasn’t been a full-time starter, he has some recent major league experience and shouldn’t have any problems transitioning to a starting role.
However, there are rumors that another player who was expected to be paired with him unexpectedly failed his physical. If this is true, it’s a good thing that the thoroughness of the physical nipped any concerns in the bud, but it could lead to speculation that the process of finding a new player is taking time and delaying the overall announcement. It will inevitably take a little more time for Kia to find an alternative and complete the physicals again. This may also explain why the announcement was originally expected this week, but was pushed back to next week.
At least KIA won’t have to compete with teams in the KBO anymore, as the KBO’s foreign pitcher signing period is over. Japanese clubs, seeing the skyrocketing prices of major league pitchers, are also turning to bullpens, which are relatively cheap, rather than looking for starters. This is why KIA can afford to take a little more time and not compete. But with time comes responsibility. If you’re the last to sign and it doesn’t work out, you’re not exempt from the blame.
Kia has had problems with foreigners in the last two years. They were selected with their own expectations, but due to various problems, they failed to fulfill them. This has been one of the main reasons why the team has faltered in the playoffs and at the end of the season. Compared to other teams, it was clear that they did not benefit from foreign pitchers.
In 2022, the team started the season with Sean Nolin and Ronnie Williams, but Williams showed his inadequacies early on. His velocity was there, but it wasn’t backed up by his overall delivery and game management. In 10 games, he went 3-3 with a 5.89 ERA. Nolin’s pitching quality wasn’t bad when he was healthy, but he was crucially ill. Injuries limited him to 124 innings in 21 games in 2022. It was determined that he could not be the innings-eater that KIA wanted, so he was released.
In 2023, the KBO tried to make amends by signing power pitchers Shawn Anderson and Adonis Medina, but neither player was able to escape the misfortune of being released midseason. Thomas Pannoni, who was signed as a replacement foreign player for both 2022 and 2023, did a decent job, but even Pannoni, who was placed on hold, decided to return to the United States, removing one of the cards from KIA’s hand.
KIA was unable to break out of the vicious cycle of poor foreign starting pitching, bullpen overload, and late-season slump. The homegrown starting rotation of Yang Hyun-jong, Lee Yi-ri, and Yoon Young-chul was decent enough. However, the foreign pitchers have been unable to deliver innings and the lack of a sixth starter has prevented them from getting enough rest. KIA is not a team that can be satisfied with a fifth-place finish based on their objective strengths. They need to do better than that. All eyes are on the signing of a foreign pitcher, which could be the key to their fate.