Lotte Giants right-hander Dan Straily (35) was released. Considering his current skills and age, it is safe to say that his career has virtually ended in Korea.
Lotte asked KBO to disclose Straily’s waivers on the 18th and recruited Aaron Wilkerson (34) as a new foreign pitcher for a total of $350,000 ($250,000 a year, $100,000 in options). Lotte finished with a 50% winning rate collapsing with 38 wins and 39 losses in the first half, and chose to replace Straily as a winning move for a rebound in the second half.
Three years ago, no one would have imagined Straily being released to Lotte. Straily has attracted attention as an ace pitcher since he first signed with Lotte in 2020 and came to Korea. He was an experienced pitcher who spent eight seasons in the Major League, and the U.S. media evaluated that he is likely to make a comeback in the U.S. based on the KBO League challenge.
In 31 games in 2020, Straily had the best performance in Lotte’s foreign pitcher history with 15 wins and 4 losses, 194⅔ innings, 205 strikeouts, and a 2.50 ERA. Lotte’s 15 wins were the most in a season for foreign pitchers, and he became the first foreign pitcher in the club to win the strikeout king. As a Lotte pitcher, he was also the first strikeout king in 24 years since Joo Hyung-kwang (221) in 1996.
Since then, however, he has not made a strong impression as much as the first year of his contract. Although he achieved 10 wins in 2021, his innings were reduced to 162 innings and his ERA was high at 4.07. Lotte still tried to accompany Straily, but it was inevitable to express interest in Straily in the U.S., where the supply and demand of pitchers became unstable due to the pandemic. Straily signed a minor league contract with the Arizona Diamondbacks and eventually left Lotte.
It didn’t take that long to reunite. Lotte brought back Straily for $400,000 in August last year. Straily failed to get a big league call-up 안전놀이터 opportunity in the end and had no choice but to respond to Lotte’s call. Straily seemed to signal the revival of the ace with four wins and two losses, 62⅓ innings and a 2.31 ERA in 11 games last year. This is why Lotte gave $1 million again ahead of this season.
Straily is expected to play as the most stable one-two punch in the league with Charlie Barnes this year. He had the advantage of being a proven pitcher who could take responsibility for 10 wins if he was not sick, but this year he was not sick, but he had severe ups and downs, which made Lotte manager Larry Sutton and officials worried. In 16 games, he had only 3 wins and 5 losses, 80⅓ innings, and a 4.37 ERA. There may have been disadvantages that he was a pitcher who was exposed to KBO batters, but there were many opinions that his ball power itself fell in the field.
At the end of the first half, rumors spread that Lotte was considering replacing foreign pitchers. Barnes, who also had ups and downs, was also considered for replacement, but Straily eventually left the team. It was regrettable that the ending with a long-lived foreign player who had been with him for four years was eventually released, but it was an inevitable choice for Lotte, which has to aim for the semifinals or higher.
Straily’s career in Korea is virtually over after breaking up with Lotte. This is even more so because it was a replacement without a reason for injury. Lotte and Straily now have only to pray for each other’s well-being.