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Another new edition, KIA choice?
For the 2024 season, the KIA Tigers will still need to find a foreign pitcher. The Tigers had a foreign one-two punch of Shawn Anderson and Adonis Medina this season, and when they struggled, KIA made a gamble by bringing in Mario Sanchez and Tomas Panoni as replacements just before the end of the first half. However, they failed to reach the top five for the second year in a row and went back to the drawing board.
After parting ways with Hector Noesi and Pat Dean ahead of the 2019 season, Kia brought in Jacob Turner and Joe Willand. In 2020, they brought in Aaron Brooks and Drew Gagnon, and the following year they re-signed Brooks and brought in Daniel Mengden in place of Gagnon. However, Brooks was involved in a scandalous incident during the 2021 season and left Korea, and KIA released Mengden ahead of the 2022 season, signing Ronnie Williams and Sean Nolin to new contracts.
Neither Ronnie nor Nolin struggled last year, the first year of Kim Jong-guk’s tenure as head coach. Nolin didn’t take the mound for over two months due to injury after April. During this time, Ronnie was the first to be sent packing, as his behavior was disruptive to the team. His replacement was Panoni. He went 3-4 with a 2.72 ERA in 14 games later in the year. After Nolin recovered from his injury, the two formed a one-two punch that helped Kia to a fifth-place finish in fall baseball.
While Nolin and Panoni excelled in their pitches, they were lacking in their delivery.
KIA brought in Anderson and Medina under the title of “relief pitchers” to address this shortcoming. However, Medina only lasted 12 games and 58 innings, with a 2-6 record and a 6.05 ERA, and eventually left Korea. 카지노사이트가이드 Anderson fared better, going 4-7 with a 3.76 ERA in 14 games, but KIA opted to replace both pitchers.
On the postseason roster, KIA removed Sanchez and included only Pannoni.
Sanchez, who played in Taiwanese professional baseball, made his KBO debut with an unusual set-up in which he leaned his upper body heavily toward first base and then stood up. However, he struggled in his first two games and never really settled down. In 12 games and 63⅔ innings, he went 4-4 with a 5.94 ERA. It was far from what was expected.
Panoni spent his second season in the KBO as a reliever. This season, he went 6-3 with a 4.26 ERA in 16 games and 82⅓ innings pitched. He didn’t give up a lot of runs, but he did show some innings, and his pitches showed no signs of rust.
Their conflicting performances boiled down to the question of whether they should be placed on the disabled list.
Even if Sanchez, who already has some idea of his pitching form, were to start the season full-time, there’s no guarantee he’d be any better than he was this year. Pannoni still has some work to do on his pitches, but he’s shown decent command of his stuff and innings, and his relatively low price tag makes him an insurance policy.
Since the middle of the 2023 season, KIA has focused on overhauling and strengthening its local scouting lineup in the United States. To that end, the organization has been traveling to the U.S. during the offseason, and it’s possible that they could find a pitcher to fill Sanchez’s void and replace Pannoni from the list they’ve compiled. However, given the difficulty of finding quality players in the U.S. after the KBO’s $1 million cap for debut foreign players, the team may be stuck with a foreigner to fill Sanchez’s spot.