“He was such a good friend. I was very impressed. I think he will definitely do well in the U.S. and I’m rooting for him.”
Although they have been together for less than a year, Son Ah-seop (NC Dinos) and super ace Eric Pedroia have become true friends.
The Chicago White Sox of Major League Baseball (MLB) officially announced on Thursday (KST) that they have signed Pedi to a two-year, $15 million (approx. KRW 19.7 billion) contract.헤라카지노
The White Sox officially announced the signing of Pedi on Thursday. Photo via White Sox official SNS
It was a planned move. About a week ago, local media reported that the White Sox and Pedi had reached an agreement on a contract. After a physical examination, the White Sox and Peddie announced the final signing on the same day.
Peddy, who was selected by the Washington Nationals in the 2014 draft and will remain in the big leagues through the 2022 season with a 21-33 record and 5.41 ERA in 102 career games (454.1 innings), led NC’s charge this year as a super ace who dominated the KBO.
In 30 games (180.1 innings) this season, he posted 20 wins (1st), 6 losses (1st), 209 strikeouts (1st), and a 2.00 ERA (1st), achieving a triple crown (1st in wins, strikeouts, and ERA) previously only achieved by Sun Dong-yeol (Hattae Tigers-1986, 1989-1991), Ryu Hyun-jin (Hanwha Eagles-2006), and Yoon Seok-min (KIA Tigers-2011).
At the same time, Pedi also became the first player in 37 years and the fifth player in history (Jang Myung-boo, Sammi Superstars, 1983 – 30 wins and 220 strikeouts; Choi Dong-won, Lotte Giants, 1984 – 27 wins and 223 strikeouts; Kim Si-jin, Samsung Lions, 1985 – 25 wins and 201 strikeouts) to reach 20 wins and 200 strikeouts in a season since Seon Dong-yeol, 1986 – 24 wins and 214 strikeouts. His performance helped the NC overcome pre-season predictions of a bottom-feeder and finish the season in fourth place.
As a result, Peddy was named Most Valuable Player (MVP) and Golden Glove Pitcher after the season, in addition to winning the wins, strikeouts, and ERA titles, as well as defensive awards. His success is largely attributed to the fact that he wasn’t satisfied with a fastball that touched 150 mph and instead refined his sweeper and changeup.
Unsurprisingly, big league and Nippon Professional Baseball clubs were very interested in Pedi during the season. NC tried their best to retain him by offering him a multi-year contract, but the difference in money was too great. A KBO club with a salary cap can only spend a total of $4 million on three foreign players. So Pedi ended up in a White Sox uniform.
Most of NC’s players, including Son, who served as the team’s captain this season, were sad to see Pedi go, but congratulated him on his return to the big leagues on good terms.
At the Golden Glove Award ceremony on the 11th, Son Ah-seop, who won the golden glove in the designated hitter category, said after receiving the award, “Playing on the same team as a great player is a good memory and a good experience for me. I sincerely congratulate him on his contract.” “Although he was a foreigner, he was a very good friend as a teammate. I was very impressed. I have only good memories of those things. I’m sure he’ll do great in the U.S. and I’m rooting for him. (The other players) all congratulated him as well.” Son accepted the Golden Glove for Pitcher on behalf of Pedi, who was unable to attend.
One of the reasons why Pedi had the support of the NC players until the last minute was because of his humanity. Earlier in the season, Pedi had the idea to take a picture of the batter who hit a home run and post it in the dugout. He didn’t stop there; he purchased a bulletin board out of his own pocket to help the NC team feel better about themselves.
He also called out players when they looked shaky during games and gave them advice, and even passed on his sweeper to pitchers from other teams, including Moon Dong-ju (Hanwha Eagles). NC right-hander Shin Min-hyuk, who learned a lot from Peddie, definitely stepped up his game this year, pitching 16.1 innings and two earned runs in three Fall League games.
In the postseason, he was plagued by a “pitching controversy” as he was limited to one game due to shoulder fatigue and the after-effects of being hit in the forearm on the last pitch of the regular season, but he showed his sincerity by breaking down in tears when NC failed to advance to the Korean Series. He also showed his respect for Korean baseball by traveling back to Korea from the U.S. after the season and attending the KBO awards ceremony in person.
After playing for the NC this season, Pedi will wear a White Sox uniform next year. Photo by Chun Jeong-hwan
Son said, “Of course, it’s unfortunate that Pedi left, but it’s on good terms. I think it will raise the status of Korean baseball. “It’s unfortunate, but I think it’s something to celebrate. My NC teammates said it was great. I did a great job with the contract,” he said with a heartfelt applause.
Meanwhile, after parting ways with Peddie and Tanner Tully and Jason Martin, who served as foreign pitchers and hitters, respectively, this season, NC welcomed left-hander Daniel Castano as its newest foreign pitcher on July 13. It remains to be seen if Castano can become the next Pedi.