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After losing Kim Hyun-soo, Doosan gains rising pitcher

Dec 29,2017
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Yu Jae-yu throws a pitch during a game against the Lotte Giants at Jamsil Baseball Stadium on July 26. After the LG Twins signed with Kim Hyun-soo, the Doosan Bears chose Yu Jae-yu as a compensation player on Wednesday. [IS PHOTO]
By letting Kim Hyun-soo sign with the LG Twins, the Doosan Bears earned a young pitcher, choosing Yu Jae-yu as compensation on Wednesday.

In the Korean Baseball Organization (KBO), a club that signs a free agent is required to pay the player’s previous club twice the amount of the player’s salary in the 2017 season and send a player not on the protected list to the previous club. If a club chooses not to send a player, then the club is required to pay three times the player’s salary.

“It was a decision made to fulfill the team’s goal of having a player that can be a part of the team’s strategy,” said the Doosan Bears.

Yu made his KBO debut by getting drafted seventh in the 2016 KBO rookie draft by the LG Twins. At the time, Yu couldn’t throw fastballs but was rated highly for his balance and flexibility in pitching form. That season, Yu appeared on the mound in a total of seven games for the Twins.

In Yu’s second season, he appeared in three games with a 3.60 ERA. Over the past two seasons, Yu picked up one loss with a 9.26 ERA. In the Futures League this season, Yu played in 21 games, picking up one win, four losses, one hold and five saves with an 8.07 ERA.

The Bears are in need of strong pitchers. Jung Jae-hoon retired and Kim Sung-bae was released at the end of the 2017 season. Kim Seung-hye earned his free agent status, but there hasn’t been an announcement regarding his re-signing.

Earlier this month, the Bears chose outfielder Baek Min-ki as compensation when free agent Min Byung-hun signed with the Lotte Giants in November.

Yu’s name was excluded from the Twins’ protected roster. Since the Bears already have too many fielders, they’ve chosen to focus on pitchers. By finishing on top of the KBO standing, the Bears always miss their chance at drafting young pitchers, as they were one of the last teams to make a selection.

The Bears have now earned a young pitcher who can play right away. Yu will be competing against Lee Young-ha and Park Chi-guk for a spot in the starting rotation.

“It is a satisfactory selection,” said the Bears’ manager, Kim Tae-hyung.

While the Bears earned a promising pitcher for the 2018 season, the Twins now have lost a player that they helped develop for the past two seasons. The Twins are expected to strengthen their offense with the addition of Kim, but this will have a slight impact on the team’s priority of rebuilding, losing one of its younger players.

However, the Twins’ decision to give away Yu was unavoidable, as he fell behind the other two pitchers on the roster, since Ko Woo-suk and Son Joo-young, who both got drafted in the 2017 Rookie draft, showed potential for the Twins’ starting rotation.

“I feel bad about leaving the team I joined in the beginning of my KBO career,” said Yu. “But I’ll consider this an opportunity. I’m thankful to Doosan for good reviews. I’ll work harder to play in more KBO games.”

BY AN HEE-SOO [kang.yoorim@joongang.co.kr]