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9 foreign players not tendered contract for 2024 KBO season

Dec. 1, 2023 - 10:36 By Yonhap
Anthony Alford of the KT Wiz celebrates after hitting an RBI single against the LG Twins during Game 3 of the Korean Series at KT Wiz Park in Suwon, Gyeonggi Province, on Nov. 10. (Yonhap)

Nine foreign players are among dozens of players not receiving a contract for next season in the top South Korean baseball league.

The Korea Baseball Organization unveiled a list of 59 non-tendered players Thursday evening. Other than a handful of players in the group who have announced their retirements, non-tendered players immediately became free agents.

Underachieving foreign players, including KT Wiz outfielder Anthony Alford, SSG Landers pitcher Kirk McCarty and NC Dinos pitcher Tanner Tully and outfielder Jason Martin, were part of the non-tendered group.

Alford batted .289 with 15 homers and 70 RBIs in 133 games this past season, his second in the KBO. The former major league ranked second on the Wiz in both home runs and RBIs, while leading his club with 83 runs scored and 142 hits. However, Alford struggled mightily in the postseason, batting only 4-for-30 with 13 strikeouts in 10 games.

Martin led the Dinos with 90 RBIs in the regular season but was held to one hit in 18 at-bats in the second round of the postseason against the Wiz.

McCarty went 9-5 with a solid 3.39 ERA but missed over a month of action in the summer with injury.

Tully was 5-2 with a 2.92 ERA in 11 starts as a midseason replacement for Taylor Widener, but the Dinos decided to go in another direction. Widener, who later signed with the Samsung Lions, was also not tendered a deal for 2024.

Other foreign players not returning to the KBO are: Kia Tigers pitcher Mario Sanchez, Lotte Giants infielder Nico Goodrum, Hanwha Eagles outfielder Nick Williams and Kiwoom Heroes pitcher Ian McKinney.

If KBO teams hope to bring back foreign players, they express their intent to re-sign them by keeping such players off the non-tendered list.

It doesn't always result in a reunion for the following season. In that instance, KBO teams hold on to the players' rights for five years, meaning that those players are not allowed to sign with another KBO team for that duration without the consent of their previous KBO club.

For this winter, the Dinos did not put the reigning league MVP Erick Fedde on the non-tendered list, even though the American pitcher has reportedly drawn interest from clubs in Major League Baseball and Nippon Professional Baseball and is not expected to re-sign with the KBO team.

The Twins are also holding on to their rights to right-hander Adam Plutko, who did not pitch after Aug. 26 while dealing with a hip injury and was sent home before the start of the postseason. The Twins previously indicated they don't plan to bring back Plutko and they have now chosen to block Plutko from pitching in the KBO for five years. (Yonhap)