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Baseball club parts ways with pitcher over tax concerns

Sports 15:17 December 04, 2018

SEOUL, Dec. 4 (Yonhap) -- South Korean baseball club Kia Tigers said Tuesday they have decided to part ways with right-hander Hector Noesi, with an increased income tax rate for the pitcher proving to be the biggest hurdle.

Noesi has been with the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) team since 2016. He has gone 46-20 with a 3.79 ERA in 90 games here, and he tied for the league lead with 20 wins in 2017, when the Tigers won the Korean Series.

The Tigers were willing to bring Noesi back for another season, but a team official said the higher tax rate on foreign players, effective this year, has apparently discouraged Noesi from signing a new deal.

After his KBO season ended in October, Noesi began playing in the Dominican Winter League.

In this file photo from Oct. 11, 2018, Hector Noesi of the Kia Tigers throws a pitch against the Lotte Giants in a Korea Baseball Organization regular season game at Gwangju-Kia Champions Field in Gwangju, 330 kilometers south of Seoul. (Yonhap)

Noesi made US$1.7 million in 2018. It wasn't immediately clear how much the Tigers would have offered him for 2019, but with the income tax rate reaching a maximum of 42 percent and foreign athletes being charged retroactively, Noesi would have had to shell out at least 1 billion won ($902,000) in taxes in 2019.

The Tigers have already replaced left-hander Pat Dean and outfielder Roger Bernadina from this past season by signing right-hander Jacob Turner and outfielder Jeremy Hazelbaker.

KBO teams can each sign up to three foreign players, with a maximum of two pitchers. The Tigers said they'll announce Noesi's replacement in the coming days.

jeeho@yna.co.kr
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