The Hanwha Eagles have parted ways with Mike Tuckman after the 2022 season. Tuckman played 144 games in a Hanwha uniform last year, hitting .289 with 166 hits, 12 home runs, 43 RBIs, 88 runs scored, and a .795 OPS, so there was no reason not to re-sign him to an extension. However, the two sides disagreed on the terms of the contract, and their partnership came to an end after just one year.

Hanwha immediately began searching for a new foreign hitter after Tuckman’s departure, signing Brian O’Grady for a total of $900,000 ($700,000 salary, $200,000 incentive)스포츠토토 . If there was one thing Tuckman lacked during his time with Hanwha, it was long ball power. Hanwha thought O’Grady would be able to fill that void.

They had good reason to be hopeful. O’Grady proved he had the power when he hit 28 home runs at Triple-A Cincinnati Reds in 2019, and he’s hit 91 home runs in seven seasons in the minors. O’Grady had another selling point. His experience with Asian baseball.

O’Grady spent last year with the Seibu Lions of Nippon Professional Baseball, hitting .213 with 86 hits, 46 RBIs, 42 runs scored, and 42 runs batted in over 123 games. He wasn’t a finesse player, but his 15 home runs were certainly noteworthy. Hanwha thought O’Grady could succeed in the KBO, which is a step down from Japan. They were wrong.

O’Grady showed off his one-hit ability, hitting three home runs in 12 exhibition games. But his batting average was just .114. While he had the power to clear the fence with the right pitch, the problem was that he couldn’t put the ball in play. This problem carried over into the regular season. In 22 games, O’Grady failed to draw a single arch and batted a dismal .125. In the second team, his batting average was just as bad, at .179.

Hanwha waited for O’Grady to come alive after firing manager Carlos Subero, who had been in charge of the team for the past three years, but the news didn’t come, and on March 31, the club finally put the knife to work. “We have requested a waiver from the Korean Baseball Organization (KBO) for foreign-born hitter Brian O’Grady,” Hanwha announced.

It’s been a week since O’Grady’s departure. However, the team has yet to announce the signing of a new foreign hitter. No news. Manager Choi Won-ho was asked about foreign batters before the game against the Doosan Bears in Jamsil on July 7.

“There are times when we do background checks and the club informs us that it’s not possible to negotiate, or a player says he won’t come, or he’s called up to the major leagues, or another player says he can’t come because of family issues. The U.S. has been downsizing due to the pandemic, so they’re not releasing players as much. Even when they do release players for a transfer fee, they lock them up,” he said, expressing his frustration.

Choi Won-ho’s preferred style for foreign batters is “team chemistry,” which is why he has difficulty recruiting. Rather than individualistic players, he prefers team-first players who can lift the atmosphere. “I want a player with a lot of energy. Of course, it would be better if he can hit well, but I want a player who can blend into the team’s batting lineup and be a source of energy,” he said.

He also mentioned Manny Martinez, who played for Hanwha, and Najer Morgan, who also played for Hanwha. “In a team like ours, where we don’t have a lot of depth, we have a lot of foreign hitters. We bring them in because of their long bat, and if they don’t hit, it’s a real headache,” he said, adding, “I want someone with a lot of energy like Heredia (SSG) and Pirela (Samsung). I want a player who can hit 15 home runs, who has good power, and who can boost the energy of the entire team.”

There’s no denying that Hanwha is having trouble signing foreign batters. “The timing (of signings) keeps getting delayed. Until now, I didn’t know much about the process of signing foreign batters, but it’s very complicated, with background checks, agents, and doctors. I don’t know how many we’ve done so far. It’s not like the clubs don’t want to do it quickly.”

As of the start of the game on July 7, Hanwha had narrowed the list down to two candidates. However, with so many variables, it’s unclear if the signing will go through. Here’s a look at which players will be linked to Hanwha.

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