‘155km’ Smith recruited with risk of injury, Hanwha High-Risk High-Return

Hanwha has recruited a 155km fireballer with the risk of injury. Bet on a high-risk, high-return game. 

On the 18th, Hanwha announced the recruitment of right-hander Birch Smith (32) as a new foreign pitcher. With a contract fee of $100,000, an annual salary of $700,000, and an incentive of $200,000, the maximum limit of $1 million for new foreign players has been filled. 

Smith, an American national, is a power pitcher who can throw fastballs of up to 155 km with a large physique of 193 cm and 102 kg. He is tall, has a long extension that pulls the ball forward as much as possible, has a good ball end, and has a good knuckle curve and changeup. He pitched a total of 102 games (13 starts) in 5 seasons in the American Major League, and this year he also experienced Asian baseball in Japanese professional baseball.

His overall career is an excellent pitcher, but he has a fatal weakness: frequent injuries. In April 2015, during the Major League Tampa Bay Race, he underwent elbow ligament surgery and rehabilitated for two years until 2016 and missed the whole, and in the 2020 corona shortened season, which was a member of the Oakland Athletics, he suffered a right forearm injury in August after the start of July. The season was out after a game. 

Smith, who was out for a month after injuring his right groin in early April of last year, continued his injury nightmare in Japan this year. He threw only two games for the Seibu Lions in the first half of April before coming off with a side injury. In mid-June, he had a month and a half hiatus before returning to action in the second team. After returning to the first team in early July, he felt discomfort in his fingers after two games and left, and he was unable to climb the mound for three weeks due to the corona confirmation. 

Hanwha is more sensitive to foreign pitcher injuries than any other team. I saw the team collapse as all four foreign pitchers who passed through the team this year were injured. Aside from Felix Pena, who suffered a broken nose from a batted ball, Nick Kingham, Ryan Carpenter and Jefri Ramirez suffered pitch-related injuries. 

In particular, Kingham, who finished in two games due to elbow surgery during SK (currently SSG) days, had a good first year at Hanwha, but was out for another season due to a brachial muscle injury after three games this year. With Kingham’s nightmare just around the corner, Smith’s recruitment is a pretty big adventure. After negotiations, he completed a medical test, but it is true that he is worried because he has so many injuries.  메이저사이트

However, Hanwha has found an ace level pitcher who is sure to be the first starter. There is a risk of injury, but it is not easy to find a pitcher with a pitch like Smith, and Hanwha needed a pitcher with a higher peak than an ambiguous player. Hanwha general manager Son Hyuk said, “Smith is a fireballer-type starting resource, and he is a pitcher who can be entrusted with the first starting role. I recruited Smith because I needed a first-class pitcher who could overwhelm opponent hitters.” 

Although there is a risk of injury, they have recruited pitchers who can be selected in the free agent trade market, such as Lee Tae-yang and Han Seung-hyuk, to secure resources to withstand any emergency. It is not easy to get out of last place with only safe choices, so Hanwha needs a bold game. It is high risk high return.