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Eagles sign free agents just in time for training

Feb 01,2019
Lee Yong-kyu and Choi Jin-hang of the Hanwha Eagles completed their free agent (FA) signing on Wednesday, just in time for their offseason training.

Lee, who earned his second FA status, agreed to a two-year contract with an option of another year at 2.6 billion won ($2.3 million). Of his contract, Lee will receive 200 million won as a signing bonus, 400 million won in annual income and can earn up to 400 million won in incentives each season based on his performance.

“I’m glad to have completed my contract and I can leave for the camp,” Lee said. “I’ll try my hardest in proving my worth as a professional player throughout the camp. Since I am re-joining the team, I’ll work harder for our team’s advancement into the postseason.”

Lee made his KBO debut with the LG Twins in 2004. After only a year with the Twins, Lee continued his career with the Kia Tigers and played nine seasons before joining the Eagles. With the Eagles, Lee had his career best season in 2015 with a .341 batting average with four home runs and 42 RBIs.

As the Eagles leadoff last season, Lee played in 134 games and finished with a .293 batting average. With the signing, Lee will be playing his sixth season with the Eagles.

Lee has a career batting average of .302 with 451 RBIs. He has only hit 24 home runs in 15 seasons in the KBO.

Choi, who earned his first FA status, signed a one-year contract with an option of another year at a maximum of 500 million won. Choi is guaranteed 200 million won in annual income and can earn up to 100 million won in incentives based on his performance this season.

“Although it’s a day late, I’m glad to be able to join the camp right on time for the first day of training,” Choi said.

Choi is not a notable name to many Eagles fans, but has played for the team since 2004. He has shown potential as a slugger, hitting 32 home runs in a single season in 2010. Last season, Choi played in 57 games for the Eagles and finished with a .213 batting average, seven home runs and 13 RBIs.

Throughout his career, Choi has a .267 batting average with 138 home runs and 502 RBIs.

Lee and Choi will be heading to Okinawa, Japan, today to join the Eagles’ spring training camp.

“Lee Yong-kyu played well last year,” said Eagles manager Han Yong-duk. “Choi Jin-hang struggled, but I hope he leaves a strong impression on the team and the fans this year.”

In addition to the two FA players, the Eagles also announced they have re-signed pitcher Song Eun-beom at 250 million won. Son picked up seven wins, four losses, a save and 10 holds with a 2.50 ERA in 68 games last season.

As the two players completed their FA signing, only Noh Kyung-eun of the Lotte Giants and Kim Min-sung of the Kiwoom Heroes are left in the FA market without a signed contract.

BY KANG YOO-RIM, BAE YOUNG-EUN [kang.yoorim@joongang.co.kr]