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Baseball club signs 2 former big leaguers

All News 10:07 November 20, 2018

SEOUL, Nov. 20 (Yonhap) -- South Korean baseball club Kia Tigers finalized deals with two former major leaguers on Tuesday.

The Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) team said right-hander Jacob Turner and outfielder Jeremy Hazelbaker will join the 2017 champions for next season.

Turner signed a one-year deal worth US$1 million, which includes a $300,000 signing bonus, and Hazelbaker's one-year deal is worth $700,000, including a $200,000 signing bonus.

The KBO instituted a salary cap of $1 million for foreign players on their first contracts.

The Tigers said on Monday that they were close to acquiring Hazelbaker.

In this Getty Images file photo from May 17, 2017, Jacob Turner, then with the Washington Nationals, pitches against the Pittsburgh Pirates during the bottom of the first inning of a Major League Baseball regular season game at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. South Korean ball club Kia Tigers said that they've acquired Turner on a one-year, US$1 million deal. (Yonhap)

KBO teams can sign up to three foreign players, at least one of whom must be a position player. And all clubs have opted to carry two pitchers and one hitter for the past several seasons.

Hazelbaker, 31, will be replacing Roger Bernadina, who batted .310 with 20 homers, 70 RBIs and 32 steals in 2018, a year after hitting .320 with 27 homers, 111 RBIs and 32 steals in his first KBO season. The center fielder will turn 35 next year.

Hazelbaker has 155 big league games under his belt, with a .258/.327/.500 line, 14 home runs and 38 RBIs between the St. Louis Cardinals and the Arizona Diamondbacks.

In 2016, Hazelbaker played in 114 games for the Cardinals, and had 12 homers in 200 at-bats.

He spent the entire 2018 season in Triple-A for three different organizations, the Diamondbacks, the Tampa Bay Rays and the Minnesota Twins. He played in 98 games combined and batted .204 with 11 home runs and 36 RBIs.

In 915 career minor league games, Hazelbaker hit .260 with 99 homers and 431 RBIs.

The Tigers said they liked Hazelbaker's power and speed, and his ability to play all three outfield positions.

The Tigers' two foreign pitchers in 2018 were Hector Noesi and Pat Dean, and they will now try to bring back Noesi. He was a 20-game winner in the Tigers' championship season in 2017 and went 11-10 with a 4.60 ERA this year.

Dean was 6-7 with a 6.26 ERA and lost a spot in the starting rotation in the second half of the season.

Turner, 27, has pitched in 102 major league games for five teams, with a 14-31 record and a 5.37 ERA. He made five appearances for the Miami Marlins and the Detroit Tigers in 2018.

In 135 minor league games, Turner has compiled a 32-37 record with a 3.76 ERA.

The KBO club said Turner can touch 156 kilometers per hour (97 miles per hour) with his fastball and also has a good command of his slider, changeup and curve.

In this Getty Images file photo from April 9, 2017, Jeremy Hazelbaker, then with the Arizona Diamondbacks, adjusts his batting gloves during a Major League Baseball regular season game against the Cleveland Indians at Chase Field in Phoenix, Arizona. South Korean ball club Kia Tigers said that they've acquired Hazelbaker on a one-year, US$700,000 million deal. (Yonhap)


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