Felix Peña, 33, will join the Hanwha Eagles next year. Hanwha renewed its contract with Peña, a foreign pitcher, on Wednesday. The terms and conditions of the contract are up to 1.05 million dollars, including a down payment of 200,000 dollars, an annual salary of 650,000 dollars and incentives of 200,000 dollars. Peña is in his third year in the KBO league this year, and despite his stable performance enough to renew his contract, he signed his contract at a level that exceeds the maximum amount of 1 million dollars given to new foreign players in the KBO.
Peña first became acquainted with Hanwha as a substitute for Nick Kingham, who was released last year. As he joined the team during the season, the Hanwha Eagles awarded 500,000 U.S. dollars to Peña. Peña had five wins and four losses, 67 ⅔ innings, 72 strikeouts and an ERA of 3.72 in 13 games that year. He judged that he had shown enough skills to trust him again, and this year, he raised 350,000 dollars to renew his contract at 850,000 dollars.
When Hanwha was troubled by Birch Smith at the beginning of this season, Peña silently took the center stage as a real ace. Hanwha expected the ace’s mission by investing $1 million in Smith, but failed to take the mound due to injury after pitching two ⅔ innings in the opening game. Peña was holding out, and Young Gun Moon Dong-ju was able to prevent the starting lineup from collapsing as he spent his rookie season.
Peña started 32 games this year with 11 wins and 11 losses, 177 ⅓, 147 strikeouts and 3.60 ERA. He is the only player in his team who pitched more than 30 games and 170 innings, a figure that can be achieved only when he keeps the starting rotation throughout a season. He also posted an even record overall, ranking sixth with most wins, tied for ninth with most strikeouts and 14th with an ERA.
Though not a stellar performance, Peña is highly valuable as a pitcher who constantly and stably leads the mound. Peña ranked sixth in the league with 19 quality starts this year. He boasts stability among the best in the league, with only three gap versus No. 1 Raul Alcantara (Doosan, 22). As he chose to stay at the club for 1.05 million dollars, it is a blessing for Hanwha.
Hanwha ranked ninth this year with 58 wins, 80 losses, six draws and a winning percentage of 0.420. Although it is on the verge of continuing its disgraceful record of being the lowest for three consecutive years from 2020 to last year, ranking ninth is clearly a difficult ranking to be satisfied with. Even if all factors are important comprehensively, in the end, the team with strong starters will go to the fall baseball league. In that sense, Peña is expected to be a strong support for Hanwha to advance to the top five. 바카라
Peña is giving a good influence to young pitchers as well. This year, he taught Moon how to change up, his main weapon, to help him grow into an ace player for the Korean national team. Peña gets along well with his teammates and gives positive influences to his team.
After signing the contract, Peña said, “I am very happy to sign a contract. Once again, I would like to thank Hanwha for giving me the opportunity to play in Korea. I hope to prepare well for the off-season and help my team advance to the postseason next season in good physical condition.”
Hanwha is speeding up its formation of foreign players by recruiting Peña for 1.05 million dollars and new foreign hitter Yonada Peraza for 1 million dollars. There is one empty foreign pitcher, but it has tied the existing pitcher Ricardo Sanchez as a withholding player for now. If a better pitcher is released in the market within the time the team thinks, he or she will join hands with a new face, or accompany Sanchez.
As Hanwha aims to advance to the postseason next season, it is important to form a one-two punch for foreigners to lead the starting lineup along with Peña. As there are many variables in the starting lineup in Korea other than Moon, the team needs to be strong enough for foreign pitchers. For now, it has put out the fire by catching Peña, who can win more than 30 games and 10 games. Attention is focusing on whether Peña will be able to continue his reputation as a profitable foreigner next season.