The Hanwha Eagles prepared meticulously to end the cruelty of foreigners. There is no expected injury risk that fans are concerned about.
On the 18th, Hanwha announced that it had signed a contract with Smith for up to $1 million, including a down payment of $100,000, an annual salary of $700,000, and an incentive of $200,000.
Smith, born in 1990, is a right-handed pitcher who uses a variety of pitches such as slider, curve, and changeup based on his tall (193 cm) fastball with a maximum speed of 155 km.
He made his major league debut with San Diego in 2013 and played for five seasons through Kansas City, Milwaukee, San Francisco, and Oakland until 2021. His career major league record was 5-11 with 184 strikeouts and an earned run average of 6.03 (191 innings) in 102 appearances.
In the US Minor League, he played 7 seasons, recording 83 games, 27 wins, 18 losses, 412 strikeouts, and an average ERA of 3.34 (382⅓ innings).
In 2022, he also experienced Asian baseball by playing for Seibu of Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB). In Seibu, he appeared in 20 games and recorded 1 win, 4 holds, 1 save, 37 strikeouts, and an average ERA of 3.29 (38.1 innings).
He is a resource worth recruiting, given his career in the major leagues and NPB, both in the US and Japan. But there is a problem. It’s just an injury history. More than expected. He underwent elbow ligament surgery in 2015, forearm in 2020 and groin injury in 2021, so he could not play the season properly. It is the same this year. He suffered a right armpit injury in Seibu, Japan, and returned only three months later.
Hanwha has not received the strength of a foreign pitcher in the meantime. Warwick Saupold, who played an active part in the 2019-2020 season, achieved 10 wins for two consecutive years, but was not an overwhelming ace. Nick Kingham and Ryan Carpenter, who opened for the second consecutive year following last year, suffered from a rope injury.
This year had to be different. So a more thorough medical test was essential.
According to Hanwha, the club checked all of the injuries suffered 11 years ago through MRI in this medical test to eliminate the risk of injury. In Korea, coach Lee Ji-poong conducted a thorough analysis while communicating with the local strategy team in real time. In this process, Hanwha was assisted by the Tampa Bay Rays club, where Smith played, for an inspection hospital. Because Smith played for Tampa Bay, the team doctor knows his injury history. 안전놀이터
Dr. Eaton, the doctor in charge, said, “The elbow ligament, which was previously operated on by Tommy John, is good, and as a result of ultrasound confirmation, the injured area this year has been completely recovered.”
And that’s not all. Japan’s Seibu club also asked for cooperation and confirmed the history of all injuries from his debut to last year, and there was no problem.
Still, Smith could be injured again. In response, Hanwha general manager Son Hyuk said, “There is an issue about injuries, but we have thoroughly reviewed them. Our defense is weak, so we needed a pitcher with a pitch type.” I made a manual that can be recruited,” he said.
We also gathered a lot of selection resources. General manager Sohn said, “We are trying to prepare domestic pitchers who can survive the period in case of an injury.”
As General Manager Sohn said, Hanwha recruited Lee Tae-yang (32) and Han Seung-hyuk (29), who can both start and bullpen this winter, through FA and trade respectively. It is a plan so that they can go out as an alternative starter at any time.
As such, Hanwha prepared meticulously. Attention is focusing on whether Hanwha’s efforts will shine next season.