By Yoo Jee-ho
SEOUL, Dec. 23 (Yonhap) -- The South Korean baseball club KT Wiz announced Wednesday they've signed new outfielder Zoilo Almonte of the Dominican Republic.
The Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) club signed the 31-year-old switch hitter to a one-year deal worth US$775,000. Almonte will receive $525,000 in guaranteed salary and can make up to $250,000 in incentives.
He has a tough act to follow in the Wiz lineup, as he is replacing the reigning KBO MVP Mel Rojas Jr. Also a switch-hitting outfielder, Rojas led the KBO with 47 home runs and 135 RBIs in 2020 and signed with the Hanshin Tigers in Japan's Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) in the offseason.
Almonte is coming in from the NPB, having played for the Chunichi Dragons over the past three years. In 243 games with the Dragons, Almonte batted .316/.375/.484 with 31 home runs and 131 RBIs.
Almonte had a cup of coffee in the majors with the New York Yankees, appearing in 34 games in 2013 and 13 more the following year. He also had a stint in Mexico.
"Almonte has a short and compact swing, and he can handle both fastballs and breaking balls really well," said KT general manager Lee Soong-yong. "He's a hardworking player who brings a lot of enthusiasm to the field. We expect him to bat in the heart of our lineup."
Almonte's signing completes the foreign player picture for the Wiz, who earlier re-signed two right-handers, Odrisamer Despaigne and William Cuevas.
KBO teams can sign up to three foreign players, but no more than two pitchers.
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