Smith admits failure and quickly replaces… Hanwha Plan B is ’26-year-old lefty’ Sanchez

Hanwha announced the recruitment of a replacement player a day after releasing foreign pitcher Birch Smith (33). The contract was made official with Venezuelan left-hander Ricardo Sanchez (26). His career hasn’t been flashy, but he’s picked a young, healthy, and promising left-hander. 

Hanwha announced on the 20th that it had signed a contract with Sanchez for an annual salary of $400,000. It is difficult to find a replacement foreign pitcher in the US as it is early in the season in April, but Hanwha, which was preparing for Plan B, decided to release Smith and quickly completed the recruitment of Sanchez. 

It was a super-fast replacement that was possible because Hanhwa quickly admitted failure. From his team’s point of view, it was not easy to admit the failure to recruit Smith, but the urgency that he could be pushed back in the ranks fight was greater if he delayed. 

Hanwha recruited Smith in December of last year with the maximum amount of 1 million dollars for new foreign players. Excluding the incentive of 200,000 dollars, only the guaranteed amount is 800,000 dollars, which is a player who spent a lot of money. As a player who has been plagued with injury issues since his days in the major leagues in the US and the Seibu Lions in Japan last year, the risk was high, but Hanwha, who needed a powerful ace, boldly threw the number. 

Unfortunately, the adventure ended in failure. Smith, who showed off his strong pitching from spring camp to demonstration games and was dropped as the starting pitcher in the opening game, showed an abnormality by voluntarily playing with shoulder pain from the first game. He was after throwing just 60 pitches in just 2⅔ innings. 

As a result of two shoulder examinations, it was found that there was minor muscle damage, but there was no major problem in pitching. However, Smith, who had a lot of injury trauma, could hardly shake off his anxiety. Hanwha, who had many come-from-behind losses and overtime losses due to anxiety at the beginning of the season, also considered using Smith as a bullpen. Last year at Seibu in Japan, Smith suffered an injury in the first half and was offered a new contract with good pitching as a relief in the second half. 

If Hanhwa did not acknowledge the failure to recruit Smith and had regrets, he could have waited until he could use it as a salvation. However, his return schedule continued to be delayed, and he could not continue to carry the risk of an injury that could explode at any time. A foreign starting pitcher was needed to manage and give periodic breaks to starting prospects such as Moon Dong-ju and Nam Ji-min who still needed physical protection.

When Smith showed signs of abnormality, Hanwha immediately launched a plan B and recruited Sanchez, a 26-year-old left-hander from Venezuela. Born in 1997 and currently the youngest among foreign players in the KBO League, Sanchez is not a player with a brilliant career, with three games (5⅓ innings) in one season for the St. Louis Cardinals in 2020, all of which were major league results. However, as a pitcher who started 133 out of 140 games in his eight minor league seasons, he has the ability to digest innings. 

In October 2020, he underwent elbow ligament surgery and was rehabilitated, and was out for the entire 2021 season. Following 11 games (49⅓ innings) in the Venezuelan Winter League last winter, he proved his healthy physical condition by pitching three games (6⅔ innings) on the Triple-A team under the Chicago White Sox this year. His ERA in Triple A was 4.79 last year and 5.40 this year, which is not very good, but he is a young pitcher who is only 26 years old and has potential for improvement. 

The Hanwha team said,메이저사이트 “We expect Sanchez, who uses curves, sliders, and changeups, to be able to digest stable innings through his unique aggressive pitching pattern, in addition to the two-seam of restraint similar to fastballs of up to 151km and the second half of 140km.” Sanchez, who will enter the country within this month after completing administrative procedures and join the team, is expected to make his debut in early May at the latest. After the injuries of Nick Kingham and Ryan Carpenter last year, it took about two months to recruit replacement players.

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