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KBO free agent shortstop returns to original team after controversial negotiations

All News 13:59 December 20, 2019

SEOUL, Dec. 20 (Yonhap) -- South Korean free agent shortstop Oh Ji-hwan will be returning to his original club after all, following criticism of unreasonable demands at the negotiating table.

The LG Twins of the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) announced on Friday that Oh has agreed to a four-year deal worth 4 billion won (US$3.4 million). The deal includes a signing bonus of 1.6 billion won, and the 29-year-old will be making 600 million won in annual salary.

Oh was drafted by the Twins out of high school in 2009 and has spent his entire 11-year career with the Seoul-based club.

Earlier in free agency, Oh sought a six-year deal from the Twins. But when details of his demands were leaked, Oh faced flak from Twins' fans for being greedy.

Then on Dec. 5, Oh's agent told the Twins that the player would accept whatever the team gave him. The Twins then decided to hand Oh the second-largest contract for a shortstop in league history, behind only a four-year, 5 billion-won deal signed by Kim Jae-ho with the Doosan Bears before the 2017 season.

In this file photo from Oct. 10, 2019, Oh Ji-hwan of the LG Twins hits a sacrifice fly against the Kiwoom Heroes in the bottom of the second inning of a Korea Baseball Organization postseason game at Jamsil Stadium in Seoul. (Yonhap)

"I am really happy to be back in our pinstripes," Oh said in a statement released by the Twins. "Since Day 1, I've never once thought about playing for anyone else. I want to thank our fans for their support, and I'll try to be a team-first guy all the time."

Oh is a career .261 hitter with 103 home runs, 530 RBIs and 188 steals in 1,207 games. In 2019, he batted .252 with nine home runs, 53 RBIs and 27 steals.

Oh has a reputation for botching routine plays on the field, though advanced fielding metrics rated him as the best defensive shortstop in the KBO. He led every KBO player in his position with 1.33 in defensive wins above replacement (dWAR), according to the statistics site Statiz.


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