Hanwha Eagles Birch Smith (33) talked about why he came to the KBO League.
Smith entered the KBO League this season by signing a contract with Hanwha for a total of 1 million dollars (down payment of 100,000 dollars, annual salary of 700,000 dollars, and incentives of 200,000 dollars). He came to Korea after playing in the major leagues and Japanese professional baseball.
Smith, who recorded 102 major league games (191 innings), 5 wins, 11 losses, 1 save and an average ERA of 6.03, played 20 games (38⅓ innings), 1 win, 4 holds, 1 save and ERA of 3.29 while playing for Japan’s Seibu last season. Smith, who is tall (193 cm) and throws a fastball that exceeds 150 km/h, has achieved success in Japan as well, and received a contract offer of 1.5 million dollars from a Japanese club.
The KBO league is limited to a contract size of 1 million dollars for new foreign players. Looking at the contract amount alone, Hanwha could not compete with Japanese clubs. However, in the KBO League, being able to play as a starting pitcher appealed to Smith. 메이저사이트
Smith said, “In Japan, expectations were higher as a reliever pitcher than as a starting pitcher. He has a chance to be a starting pitcher in Korea, so he is personally proud and feels good. When he gets a chance to start, he will do his best. I have my own routine to play as a starting pitcher, so when I become a starting pitcher, I am very happy and excited to be able to focus more on my routine,” he said, expressing his desire to play as a starting pitcher.
Smith, who said that being able to play as a starting pitcher influenced his contract with Hanwha, said, “It is true that I received an offer of close to 1.5 million dollars from Japan. But he had more incentives than guaranteed money,” he said, explaining that he came to Korea considering various conditions.
Smith has rarely pitched a long inning in a season throughout his career. He has only had 3 seasons where he exceeded 100 innings. Regarding his health concerns, Smith said, “I think health is a really important factor. If he throws the ball hard, his shoulder might get bad. For that part he will work hard enough. He eats a lot and tries to sleep well.” He continued, “I know that Hanhwa’s foreign pitchers have not been able to contribute much to the team due to injuries in recent years, and I feel a burden, but I will overcome it well and fill the void of foreign pitchers well.”