Pitcher Josh Lindblom (36), who returned to the major leagues by winning MVP in the KBO League, retired. He underperformed in the major leagues and decided to retire at the end of his three-year contract.
Lindblom announced his retirement from active duty through his SNS on the 13th (hereinafter Korean time). “For 30 years, baseball has taught me so much more than balls and strikes, hits and runs, wins and losses,” Lindblom said. Baseball taught me life and made me write this letter.”
Lindblom spent his career high in Korea. As a member of the Lotte Giants in 2015-2017 and the Doosan Bears in 2018-2019, he played an active part in the KBO League with a total of 130 games (823⅓ innings) for 5 years with an average ERA of 3.55 and 750 strikeouts. In 2019, his last year, 30 games (194⅔ innings), 20 wins, 3 losses, an average ERA of 2.50 and 189 strikeouts, ranking first in wins, innings and strikeouts, and second in average ERA. He led Doosan’s combined championship and was also selected as MVP.
Using his performance in Korea as a stepping stone, he also won a major league contract. He returned to the big leagues in December 2019 by signing a three-year, $9.125 million, multi-year contract with Milwaukee, but the results were disastrous. In 2020, he had an average ERA of 5.16 with 2 wins and 4 losses in 12 games (45⅓ innings), and in 2021, after collapsing with an average ERA of 9.72 in 8 games (16⅔ innings), he was nominated for transfer (DFA) at the end of May.
Lindblom, who was transferred to the Milwaukee-affiliated Triple A Nashville Sounds because there was no team he wanted during the waiver period, was demoted to the minor leagues. Last year, he spent a full season at Triple A, recording 26 games (133⅓ innings), 9 wins, 7 losses, an average ERA of 4.05, and 133 strikeouts, but there was no big league call-up. After his three-year contract with Milwaukee ended, he became a free agent after the season, and took off his uniform at a relatively early age, unable to find a team until over the year.
Lindblom’s retirement has many implications for foreign players who are challenging the major leagues after succeeding in the KBO league. There are many success stories such as Eric Thames, Merrill Kelly (Arizona), Chris Flexen (Seattle), and Brooks Reilly (New York Mets), but challenges come with risks.
Pitcher Wilmer Font (33), who left SSG Landers to challenge the major leagues, returned to the United States with a greater risk. Font, who led SSG’s combined championship last year, rejected the offer to renew the contract and communicated his intention to return to the United States early, and on the 6th, the news of a minor league contract with the San Diego Padres was announced. The situation is worse than Lindblom, who received a lot of money in that it was not the major league contract he expected.
Still, he is expected as a preliminary selection candidate. On the 13th, the US’MLB Trade Rumors (MTR)’ cited Font as one of San Diego’s starting options and said, ‘Font, who turns 33 in May, is a wild card. Although he has been a journeyman in the major leagues for many years, he went to Korea in 2021 and worked as an ace-level pitcher for SSG for two years. He explained that in 2021 he had a 3.46 earned run average in 25 games and a 2.69 earned run average in 28 games last year. 바카라
“Last season, Font had a strikeout rate of 23.3% and a walk rate of only 4.7%. The ground ball out rate was 51.6%,” he said. “Success overseas does not always lead to major league success, but there are players who recently returned after finding breakthroughs elsewhere, such as Miles Michaels (St. Louis) and Kelly (Arizona). Font is not currently on the 40-man roster, so he will have to compete, but he will be an interesting observation.’
The name of Kelly from the KBO League came out along with Michaels, who did not achieve much in the major leagues, but made a successful comeback with the Yomiuri Giants of the Japanese professional baseball as a stepping stone. Kelly headed to Korea in 2015, signing with SK Wyverns, the predecessor of SSG, without major league experience. He continued to play in the KBO League for 4 years until 2018, improving his skills and achieving his dream of making his major league debut in 2019. With a stable performance for 4 years, he also signed a 2-year extension contract with Arizona.
Meanwhile, in San Diego, the 1st to 3rd starters, which lead to Darvish Yu, Blake Snell, and Joe Musgrove, have been fixed, but the 4th and 5th starters have not been decided. There are Nick Martinez, who re-signed as a free agent, and Seth Lugo, who signed as a free agent, but they are swingers who have no full-time selection experience. In addition to Font, Adrian Morehone, Jay Groom, Brent Honeywell Jr., and another KBO league pitcher, Aaron Brooks, were also selected as preliminary candidates. Brooks, who played for the KIA Tigers in 2020-2021, signed a minor contract with San Diego last month and competes with Font from spring camp.