The Hanwha Eagles have been the standout so far in this year’s Stobrig. The team reshuffled its coaching staff and overhauled its roster at the end of the season. They signed veteran pitcher Jung Woo-ram, 38, as a pitching coach and brought in a new foreign batting coach.
Then, just two days after the free agency market opened on June 20, the team made a quick move. The Hanwha Eagles announced on Tuesday that they signed free agent infielder Ahn Chi-hong (34) to a 4+2-year contract totaling 7.2 billion won. Up to 5.5 billion won, including 4.7 billion won in guaranteed money and 800 million won in options. In addition, if the mutual contract extension (mutual) option, which gives both the club and the player a choice after four years, is triggered, the contract will be worth up to 1.7 billion won, including 1.3 billion won in guarantees and 400 million won in options for two years. A maximum of 6 years and 7.2 billion won.
The signings come just two days after the Korean Baseball Organization (KBO) released its list of 19 approved free agents and the market opened. The first free agent signing was Jeon Jun-woo, who remained with the Lotte Giants, but it was the first outside signing, Ahn Chi-hong, that caught more attention.
Hanwha announced the signing of outfielder Jonathan Peraza, 25, on July 19, but general manager Son Hyuk met with Ahn later that evening and managed to seal the deal in the first meeting. “We had to move quickly this season because we needed to sign a free agent,” Sohn said through the club, “He was a player we really needed, so we tried to fulfill his needs.”
“Hanwha gave me a good offer, so I was able to make a quick decision,” said Ahn Chi-hong via the club. During the negotiation process, they emphasized why I was a good fit for Hanwha Eagles and how my arrival would fill in the gaps that the team had been lacking.” Hanwha’s proactive stance swayed Ahn.
Hanwha remained in the bottom half of the table in 2023. Midway through the season, the club parted ways with coach Carlos Subero and promoted second team coach Choi Won-ho. After three consecutive years at the bottom of the table, Hanwha turned things around with an eight-game winning streak for the first time in 18 years, but ultimately had to settle for relegation.
There were highlights, of course. Moon Dong-ju became the league’s newest homegrown ace with a 160-kilometer-per-hour fastball, and Noh Si-hwan became the third player in Hanwha history to win the home run title. He also won two RBI titles, making him a strong candidate for the league’s Most Valuable Player (MVP) award.
Rookie Moon Hyun-bin made the leap to the starting lineup while bouncing back and forth between the outfield and the bullpen, but the team’s batting average was last with a .241 average. The batting lineup needed to be bolstered. 토토사이트
After Peraza, the team brought in Ahn Chi-hong to add weight to the lineup. “He’s a player who can do everything from batting second to backing up the cleanup, so he’ll be able to create synergy with the new foreign players and Noh Si-hwan and Chae Eun-sung,” Son said.