Kia Tigers announced in a press release on Wednesday that it has signed a 950,000-dollar contract with right-hander James Nail from the U.S. (down payment of 200,000 + annual salary of 350,000 + option of 150,000 + transfer fee of 250,000). “James Nail played many games as a starting pitcher in college and in the minor leagues, and has various pitching types, so we decided to recruit him this time as we judged that he was competitive. I hope he will adapt well to the KBO league and play a role in the starting lineup,” said Shim Jae-hak, head of Kia.헤라카지노도메인

Nail, who is 193 centimeters tall and weighs 83 kilograms, made his big league debut with the St. Louis Cardinals in 2022 and posted a one-hold ERA of 7.40 in 17 games. In the minor league, he pitched in a total of 245 games (96 starts), recording 49 wins, 37 losses and 10 saves and 4.01. KIA, which signed a $1 million contract with Will Crowe from the Pittsburgh Pirates on the 7th, signed Nail on the same day and completed the formation of two foreign pitchers with right-handers.

Currently, KIA is the best “left-hander kingdom” in the KBO league. KIA has Yang Hyun-jong, a great pitcher who ranks second in the most wins (168 wins) in the history of KBO league. Excluding the 2021 season when he challenged for the Major League, Yang, a “one club man,” has played more than 170 innings for nine consecutive years from 2014 to last year. Considering Yang is a veteran player who is 36 years old this year, the record is quite surprising.

In 2021, when Yang Hyun-jong left for the U.S. to challenge for the Major League, another talented left-hander Lee Eui-ri joined KIA. Lee Eui-ri, who has boasted powerful pitching since Gwangju Il High School, has been a starter for KIA since his first season of joining the team and played in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics as a starting pitcher for the match against Korea and Japan. Lee only won four games due to lack of luck in the rookie season, but he was not enough to become the Rookie of the Year winner of the Tigers in 36 years since Lee Soon-cheol (SBS Sports Commentary) in 1985.

Lee Eui-ri has been reborn as a more powerful pitcher since the 2022 season when Yang Hyun-jong returned. Throwing 154 innings in his second season, Lee easily hit the “Sophomore Jinx” by recording his first 10 wins in 2022, and posted 11 wins, 7 losses, and 3.96 in 28 games last season as well. Except for dropping out of the national team due to a finger injury ahead of the call-up to the Hangzhou Asian Games national team, Lee Eui-ri is showing perfect growth as a pitcher with a third year of high school graduation.

With Yang Hyun-jong and Lee Ui-ri clearly holding the one-two punch, Kia attempted to fill the five starters either by right-hander or submarine pitcher to diversify its starting lineup. However, KIA’s five starting pitchers, including Lim Ki-young and Han Seung-hyuk (Hanwha Eagles), fell short of manager Kim Jong-guk’s expectations and fans’ expectations. With the five starters remaining as another task, Kia found a reliable starting lineup for its native players along with Yang and Lee through last year’s season. It was left-handed rookie Yoon Young-chul.

Yoon Young-chul, who has been called the “completed left-hander” since his days at Chungam High School, joined Kia as the second overall pick in the 2023 rookie draft, but failed to receive much attention due to his slow speed. While other fastball prospects such as Kim Seo-hyun (Hanwha) and Shin Young-woo (NC Dinos) struggled, Yoon quietly took the starting position of Kia, and enjoyed a very consistent rookie season with eight wins, seven losses and 4.04. Without Moon Dong-ju (Hanwha), who is a “prepared middle-aged rookie,” last year’s rookie award would have been for Yoon.

What is the active big leaguer Crow-Nail’s 2024 performance?

KIA invested $1.63 million ahead of last year’s season to recruit right-handers Sean Anderson and Adonis Medina as the native left-hander one-two punch, which leads to Yang Hyun-jong and Lee Eui-ri, combined for 22 wins in 2022. If two right-handed foreign pitchers with good pitching and two native left-handed pitchers with experience and spirit form a starting rotation and harmonize, KIA expected to be able to establish an ideal starting lineup with good left-right balance.

However, Kia’s desire for an ideal starting lineup did not become a reality. Anderson .Paunny was replaced by Thomas Panoni in July, and Medina was also replaced by Mario Sanchez from the Taiwanese league after showing sluggish performance with two wins, six losses and 6.05 in 12 games. However, Kia’s match-winners Fanoi and Sanchez failed to renew their contracts as they only posted six wins, three losses and 4.26 and four wins and four losses and 5.94 respectively.

Kia, which comprised three native starters as left-handers through last season, recruited two right-handed pitchers this year, and finished forming a lineup of foreign pitchers as well. Crow, who once played with Bae Ji-hwan in the Pittsburgh Pirates, pitched in 94 games for four years, posting 10 wins, 21 losses and 5.30. Notably, he had experience as a full-time big league starter when he started 25 games in the 2021 season. Kia hopes that Crow will display stellar performance comparable to that of Eric Peddy (Chicago White Sox) last year.

Nail has played in 17 big league games, and his big league career is relatively humble compared to Crow. Above all, the anxiety factor is that he does not have much experience in starting. Nail, who has no experience in starting in the big league, also played as a starting pitcher in the minor leagues from 2016 to 2019. In fact, only six games have Nail started in the minor leagues since the COVID-19 epidemic. Adapting to the unfamiliar starting mound and managing the number of pitches are essential parts for Nail to overcome this season.

Considering that the Tigers won two Korean Series championships after switching from Haitai to KIA, foreign players such as Aquilino Lopez, Rick Gutomson (2009), Hector Noesi and Roger Bernadina (2017) were instrumental in their stellar performances. In order for KIA to challenge to win the Korean Series this year, it needs foreign players’ performance.

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