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Lions Pitcher Bae to Move to Japan as Free Agent

Posted November. 02, 2010 11:27,   


Daegu Samsung Lions pitcher Bae Young-soo, who will move to the Japanese league as a free agent, went 6-8 this past season with a save and a 4.74 ERA.

These stats are hardly considered impressive in Japan, whose baseball league is generally considered better than Korea’s. Yet a player who was statistically similar to Bae moved to Japan around this time three years ago.

Lim Chang-yong, who signed with the Tokyo Yakult Swallows, had a rather mediocre record of 5-7 with a 4.90 ERA for the Lions in 2007. After his third season in Japan, however, Lim has emerged a top-rated reliever and is poised to sign a three-year contract worth 1 billion yen (12.4 million U.S. dollars) or more.

Bae, 29, and Lim, 34, have other things in common as well. Both were ace pitchers who used to dominate the Korean league and recovered from elbow injuries.

Lim, who suffered a slump for nearly three years due to his elbow, made a triumphant comeback through pitching reminiscent of his best days in Japan.

Bae also turned into a mediocre pitcher after suffering an elbow injury in 2007. His career was thought to be over after he went a career-worst 1-12 last season.

He began to recover his form from the second half of this season, however, and was impressive in the postseason.

Japanese media reported in the regular season that the Nishinomiya Hanshin Tigers and Yakult are interested in Bae.

“I want to live an exciting life rather than a stable one. Irrespective of how a Japanese baseball team treats me, I want to take on a challenge to experience a whole new world,” Bae said.

A Japanese team could take a chance on Bae at low cost. In his first season in Japan, Lim earned 300,000 dollars.