I paid attention to the part where foreign batters in the KBO League could not cope with Ko Woo-suk’s curve, and I appealed with the most emphasis when introducing players.”
Nam Goong-hoon, a scout for the San Diego Padres in charge of Asian region, recently welcomed the new year with more joy than anyone else. As the team recruited Ko Woo-suk through the posting system, there was one more “Korean big leaguer” in the team following Kim Ha-sung.랭크카지노
Scout Nam Goong-hoon said, “I participated in a video conference of the club related to recruitment with two days left until the deadline for Ko’s posting in Korean time. Ko seemed to grow very fast if he learned American baseball culture in the Major League and adjusted well. I believe that the part of playing with Kim Ha-sung will have a very positive effect on both of them.”
Ko Woo-seok agreed to a two-year contract worth $4.5 million (about 5.9 billion won) with San Diego on the 4th. The salaries in 2024 and 2025 are $1.75 million and $2.25 million, respectively, and Ko Woo-seok will receive $3 million in 2026 if the mutual option is executed.
If the option is not implemented, Ko Woo-suk will receive a $500,000 buyout amount. Including the incentive amount between 2024 and 2026, he can receive up to $9.4 million. This can motivate players.
Ko Woo-seok humbly said at a press conference on the 6th, “I think I’m still a little impatient to say that I’m a major leaguer,” adding, “I think I need to show my ability to say that I’m a real major leaguer.”
Ko Woo-seok expressed his unexpected intention to advance to the Major League shortly after LG won the Korean Series for the first time in 29 years. Although he is recognized as a closure representing the KBO League after securing LG’s closing pitcher position in the 2019 season, the posting application itself was surprising because his performance in the 2023 season was not good.
Ko was selected to the World Baseball Classic (WBC) national team in March last year, but returned home after failing to take the mound just before the opening of the tournament due to gall symptoms. In the KBO regular season, he left a regretful result with three wins, eight losses, 15 saves and an ERA of 3.68 in 44 innings in 44 games. It was far from his performance in which he won the title of relief king with four wins, two losses and 42 saves and an ERA of 1.48 in 60 ⅔ innings in 61 games in the 2022 season.
As a result, Ko’s performance in the 2023 season failed to increase the overall size of his contract. However, Ko was already on the radar of major league teams, and his faltering performance last year was not a major obstacle to his advance to the big leagues.
“In the Major League, there were many players who participated in the WBC last year who were sluggish in their teams, so Ko Woo-suk also took this into account,” scouting Nam Goong-hoon said. “Ko Woo-suk had injuries just before the tournament and suffered injuries during the season, but it was merit that he recovered his speed and threw a powerful ball normally after returning.”
“From Ko Woo-suk’s point of view, it would be regrettable because he could have received better conditions if he had spent full time healthy last year, but I consistently appealed Ko’s strengths to the club,” he said. “Lee Ye-rang, CEO of Ricoh Sports, who is in charge of Ko’s agent, also did a good job in the posting process.”
It was on December 4 last year (U.S. Eastern Time) that Ko Woo-seok’s intention to post was delivered to 30 major league clubs. Ko Woo-seok was free to live in the U.S. with 30 major league clubs for 30 days, but no news of the contract was heard until the posting deadline of the 3rd (7 a.m. on January 4th in Korean time).
However, Ko has delivered some of the most dramatic news. He immediately boarded a flight to the U.S. after agreeing on the terms of the contract with San Diego with two days left until the deadline for posting. He passed a medical test and signed the contract.
There is a reason why San Diego started recruiting Ko Woo-suk a little later. San Diego first pushed for a contract with Yuki Matsui, the best closing pitcher in the Japanese professional baseball, as a priority to reinforce the mound in the Stove League.
Left-hander Yuki Matsui, born in 1995, joined the Rakuden Golden Eagles in 2014 and is a veteran with 10 NPB seasons, 501 games, 659 ⅔ innings, 25 wins, 46 losses, 236 saves, 68 holds, and a 2.40 ERA until last year.
San Diego, which shot a career high with a career-high of 2 wins, 3 losses, 39 saves and 8 holds ERA of 1.57 in 59 games and 57 ⅓ in the 2023 season, challenged the major league stage and was the most active player, embracing Matsui.
After completing the recruitment of Matsui, San Diego has started to strengthen its additional capabilities. It approached Ko, who was already under observation through the Namgoong Hoon scout, and signed a contract that would satisfy both the player and the club.
“Our club’s recruitment stance this off-season was to finish Yuki Matsui first and then watch other candidates,” scout Nam Goong-hoon said. “After signing with Matsui, I was connected to Ko Woo-seok when there were two days left before the posting deadline.