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KBO's Heroes sign ex-MLB hitter David Freitas

All News 17:50 February 05, 2021

By Yoo Jee-ho

SEOUL, Feb. 5 (Yonhap) -- The South Korean baseball club Kiwoom Heroes announced Friday they've signed a deal with former major league hitter David Freitas.

The Heroes said Freitas has agreed to a one-year deal worth up to US$600,000 in total -- $550,000 in guaranteed salary and $50,000 in incentives.

The Heroes had been the only Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) club without a foreign hitter going into spring training. Camps for 10 clubs across the league opened Monday, with the regular season set to begin on April 3.

This AFP file photo from Feb. 18, 2019, shows former Seattle Mariners player David Freitas during a photo day at Peoria Stadium in Peoria, Arizona. (Yonhap)

Freitas, 31, has appeared in 59 major league games for the Atlanta Braves, Seattle Mariners and Milwaukee Brewers. He had one home run and eight RBIs in those games.

In 268 Triple-A games, Freitas has 23 home runs, 153 RBIs and a .326/.403/.474 line. In 2019, his last full minor league season, Freitas batted .381/.461/.561 with 12 homers and 81 RBIs in 91 games.

He didn't appear in any games in 2020 as the minor league season was wiped out by the coronavirus pandemic.

Freitas handled first base and catcher both in the minors and the majors. The Heroes said he brings both power and contact ability to the plate.

The Heroes received dismal output from their two foreign hitters last season, first Taylor Motter and then his replacement, Addison Russell. In searching for a new import bat, they focused mostly on batting and less on positional fit. They're already set at the first base and catcher spots, which makes Freitas a candidate to be a full-time designated hitter who can spell the regulars at those two positions occasionally.

According to the Heroes, Freitas will start training next week at a facility in Scottsdale, Arizona, set up by his agency, PSI Sports Management, along with about 20 other clients of the company. The Heroes will be receiving video clips of Freitas' practice sessions to keep monitoring his offseason progress.

He will travel to South Korea once his work permit is processed. He will also have to serve a mandatory 14-day quarantine upon landing here.

jeeho@yna.co.kr
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