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LG Twins acquire ex-MLB 1B Joseph

Sports 10:04 November 28, 2018

SEOUL, Nov. 28 (Yonhap) -- South Korean baseball club LG Twins announced Wednesday they've signed former major league first baseman Tommy Joseph.

The Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) team signed Joseph, 27, to a one-year deal worth US$1 million, which includes a $300,000 signing bonus.

Starting this offseason, the KBO put in a salary cap of $1 million on all new foreign players. The cap doesn't apply to returning foreign players.

Joseph is just a year removed from his second-straight 20-homer season with the Philadelphia Phillies. In 2017, Joseph hit 22 home runs and drove in 69 runs in 142 games for the Phillies, after putting up 21 homers and 47 RBIs in 107 games the previous season.

In this Getty Images file photo from Aug. 12, 2017, Tommy Joseph, then with the Philadelphia Phillies, hits a sacrifice fly against the New York Mets in the bottom of the eighth inning of a Major League Baseball regular season game at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia. Joseph has signed a one-year, US$1 million contract with the LG Twins in South Korea. (Yonhap)

But the free swinger has struck out 204 times in 249 big league games and had a combined on-base percentage of just .297 across those two seasons.

Joseph split his 2018 season between Double-A and Triple-A affiliates of the Texas Rangers, and batted .284 with 21 home runs and 70 RBIs in 91 games, while striking out 82 times.

Joseph's arrival completes the foreign player signings for the Twins. KBO teams can sign up to three imports, with a maximum of two pitchers. The Twins re-signed right-hander Tyler Wilson for his second season and replaced veteran right-hander Henry Sosa with another righty, Casey Kelly, last week.

The Twins' one foreign position player in 2018 was third baseman Adonis Garcia, who was limited to 50 games with injuries. Garcia batted .339 with eight home runs and 34 RBIs, but he was sidelined for nearly four months of action.

Joseph, a second round draft pick by the San Francisco Giants in 2009, spent an early portion of his career behind the plate but has been mostly patrolling first base since 2015 -- save for one outfield appearance in the minors in 2018.

The Twins are the third KBO club to get three foreign players on board for 2019, joining the Hanwha Eagles and the Nexen Heroes.

jeeho@yna.co.kr
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